Monday, July 13, 2015

Signal Gun Wine Farm Media Day goes off with a Bang!

We were invited to visit one of the Durbanville farms, Signal Gun, this week. We were not at all familiar with it, so we jumped at the opportunity. They have a small game farm with some very unusual animals; we saw emu on the way in, wildebeest at the top of the hill, and we are invited back to do a game drive, as it was too muddy on the day we were there. They have a new craft brewery, so we tasted two of their new beers, had a wine tasting and ate some pizza from their restaurant Ke-Monate (Sotho for "That’s nice"). But the highlight of the day was the firing of the cannon. And John drew the lucky straw...
The farm is owned by MJ de Wit and his wife Estani. the farm was established in 2008. A panoramic view from the farm or Durbanville ...
... and the far mountains
Resting winter vines, waiting for rain. they have the highest vineyard in Durbanville, at 150 metres above sea level
The entrance
Inside the restaurant
The outside function room has curtain wall for winter
And we are here to watch the cannon being fired
Coffee and muffins welcome us on the chilly morning
Waiting for proceedings to start
Marli Geldenhuys introduces Johan Brand, cannon expert (and the farm's Financial Manager), to us
The cannon was used in the 17th & 18th Centuries by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to signal farms, villages and towns to call the Burgher militia to assemble in the Cape. There was a chain of 50 0f them all over the countryside. This is the cannon with all its loading equipment
Johan explained to us how they worked and then showed us how to clean and then load the cannon
Pouring in the black powder firing charge
John getting instructions on how apply fire to the charge
This is the 6 pound cannon ball. but these are no longer used, just a charge of gunpowder to make a noise and a flame
The fine black powder used to fire the large pack of powder already tamped into the cannon
The crowd awaits the bang
The cannon is primed
John applies the smouldering wick
BANG! And Lynne gets the shot! Motor drives are wonderful things
The smoke clears
Next we went up to the newly established brewing cellar and were shown all the tanks and the methods used to make their two beers
Lots of questions about beer making and they circulated some wort for us to smell and taste. With the added hops it’s very bitter, but the brewing process softens that..
Back inside for the tasting
The two beers they make. The audience was divided almost 50/50 on which they preferred. We will watch with interest how this side of the business develops
The wines we tasted
Waiting for the tasting to begin
The Bontebok Five Crops cream ale was the one we liked the most, it is zesty and refreshing
The Ystervark Hybrid lager we found still too yeasty, it needs a bit more time
A butternut and feta pizza to share on the table
Sea Smoke Sauvignon Blanc has a Bronze from the Old Mutual Trophy
Next came the Rosé made from 100% Merlot
A pizza with chicken
And one with bacon. We found the pizzas quite sweet and, as we do try to Bant (avoid carbohydrates as much as possible), they were a little challenging.
Angela Fourie is now the PRO for the Durbanville Wine valley and, given her background in the industry, we know she will be giving excellent service and advice to the association of 10 wine farms involved
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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