Thursday, August 11, 2016

A visit to Tulbagh - Saronsberg farm

A Tour of Saronsberg Farm with winemaker Dewaldt Heyns
Dewaldt is a competent cook and, on Women's Day, he made us breakfast with lovely eggs and bacon, croissants and great Chilean black coffee in his house. This feast set us up for a tour of the farm in his twin cab bakkie (utility vehicle). It is a very beautiful, fruitful valley, not only with wine but fruit, some of which is in full blossom at the moment
Our walk to the farmhouse took us past the pasture filled with Nguni cattle, mostly mothers with their newborn calves. This pasture is next to the cottages and we heard the gentle lowing of the cattle in the evening and early morning.
They have such interesting markings, this calf a completely different coloured coat from his mother. They are an ancient African breed, well suited to the warm and dry conditions
Saronsberg has two separate farms, with vineyards that are above on the slopes of this mountain and below on the farm in the alluvial valley
A huge stand of blue gum trees hides the farmhouse
Early morning mist in the valley
Aloes, rather than roses, planted alongside the vines
Aloes flower profusely in winter and are a mainstay food for birds like the sunbirds
The Tulbagh Drostdy or old town hall from 1804. This was destroyed in the 1969 earthquake and has been beautifully restored. It is now part of the KWV vineyards
Up on the mountain, the vineyards are a mixture of bush vine and trellis. They are currently being pruned
The bush vine Grenache is making a bolt with early bud break
We then drove down the valley to the alluvial parts of the farm, where most of the red wines are grown. Saronsberg has over 550 hectares on their two farms combined
Tulbagh has suffered drought, as have most of the West Coast areas this year, but they are lucky to have a lot of water from the mountains and, with the recent rains, lots of the dams are refilling well
Saronsberg vineyards going right up the mountainside
A baby cow taking a break
The mothers watching us carefully. You have to watch out for those horns
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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