Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Harvest at Ormonde in Darling

The Basson family house on Ormonde farmstead in Darling
Tables laid for lunch in the barrel cellar, where they still have some huge old barrels from years ago. These have now become more popular and are quite scarce
Waiting outside the barrel cellar to go picking 
This is dry land country in high summer so no grass, but a row of old bluegum trees that were used for wood and windbreaks in the olden days.
The talented chef starts to cook our spit braai lamb for lunch
A beautiful farmyard scene on Ormonde with a wonderful West Coast sky
Watched by owner Theo Basson, we all climb aboard the staff transporter. NO, it is not the cattle carrier
After a bumpy ride through the streets of Darling, the countryside and then the vineyards about 14 Km from the farm, we reach the grape pickers, who have already brought in several loads of the Cabernet Franc
Some watched and some picked alongside the workers. All the grapes we picked went into the workers baskets so, hopefully, we helped rather than hindered their work.
Take a pair of secateurs and get picking
Theo tells us how and where to pick
Using secateurs was new to some
Beautiful blue black Cabernet Franc grapes
The pickers take a mid-morning break
We all move on to new rows
Lug boxes emptied onto the tractor bins
A typical Darling landscape at harvest time
Theo Basson, the owner of Ormonde
The farm manager with his Labrador, watching progress as the tractors head for the farm with full bins
Wonderful ripe grapes still on the vine
There were other crews picking in other vineyard blocks
This block has been picked; time to move on
Super Labrador
A tractor has its wheel changed, all part of the day’s work
Another glorious summer sky
Travelling  to the winery in the staff transporter
Bins full of grapes queuing up for the crusher
The Archimedes screw, where the grapes are de-stalked and gravity fed into the winery below
Beneath the screw, the grapes head for the tanks
A worker removes the stalks from the cellar once they have been separated from the grapes
In the very clean cellar, you could smell the grapes fermenting
Another bin of grapes goes into the screw
Theo shows us the fermenting tanks
We tasted some freshly fermenting Sauvignon blanc – still full of sugar and beautifully perfumed fruit
Everything is kept spotless
The four graces treading some Cabernet Franc grapes
It is hard and messy work
Good for the skin
And a great deal of fun!
The grape juice starts to rise to the surface
It was time for some lovely cold Sauvignon Blanc, Alexanderfontein’s Chip off the Old Block (Ormonde's supermarket label)
Washing off
A green vineyard, which will take on colour now that the grapes have been picked
As we left, the grapes were still coming in and here a worker helps to get them into the hopper
Waiting for lunch in the barrel cellar
Theo answering questions
The lamb was absolutely scrumptious, tender, and was covered in a really good basting sauce
Another of their labels, the Ondine Pinot Noir, has loads of elegance and good fruit, toasty wood and a smoky nose
Our favourite wine of the day, the Ondine Cabernet Franc - we bought 6 for our cellar
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013
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