Friday, March 06, 2020

321 Harvest stomp with Ken Forrester

On a beautiful summer Saturday, we were off to Stellenbosch. We were invited by Ken Forrester to attend the 321st anniversary celebration of his farm, Scholtzenberg, and to enjoy a Harvest grape stomp competition with some lunch. Our host was the man himself, Ken Forrester. Ken is recovering well from some necessary leg surgery and has this innovative Kneecycle (he calls it a Hardly Davidson) to get around on for a few weeks until he heals. It is apparently much better than crutches, as pushing the trike keeps you fit and exercises your whole body. With a lambskin fleece to kneel on, it doesn't look too uncomfortable. And there is space for a bottle of wine and a glass in that basket. Ken is his usual happy, hospitable self
The welcome drink is a Cheninita, a blend of Chenin grape juice, wine and shaved ice
Refreshing, low in alcohol and just right for a warm day
Lots of tables, benches and umbrellas dotted the lawns outside the winery
UV protection sun hats were for sale and were very popular indeed
The old wine cellar is now a stable for Ken’s horses and home for some chickens
Ken says that the chickens are an essential part of the farm’s ecology
Anthony van Schalkwyk, Senior Sales manager of Bosman Family Wines, with his cute son
His wife Caroline handles Ken Forrester’s Public Relations
People beginning to arrive and finding seating in the shade
John had a look in the barrel cellar 
Signing the permission form for Caroline van Schalkwyk so that they could use photos of guests
The Raithby Orchestra have appeared at many Ken Forrester functions through the years
Although not quite in the prime of their lives any more, they play with gusto, enthusiasm and joy
Playing all the old tunes like Daar Kom die Alibama, Sarie Marais and Lynne's favourite, Welcome to Cape Town
They also took requests and were able to fulfil them
Marching across the lawn
The food crew for the day! And they were very busy
The starter table was full of fruit, superb bread from Schoon Bakery and, just before lunch, some cheese and dips
Three wine stands where you could enjoy a glass or a taste of the Ken Forrester wines on offer
They were also on sale at special prices on the day
Banjo man!
And a cheerful accordionist
Ken welcomed us all
and still they came...
Getting the table ready with the starters, such a great selection
Really good cheeses from Dalewood, some special chutneys, pickles, relishes
and a very good lime and lemongrass marmalade to go with the cheeses
Humus, snoek paté and a yogurt dip in big jars to go on the bread
The ladies on the hamburger table were busy with preparations
Merlot grapes ready in crates for the first round of grape stomping
The team that produced the most juice would win a prize
Teams had to pick a barrel
The band played on
All feet had to be washed in a metabisulphite bath before they began
Waiting for the off. They did a Le Mans style start
One member of the team had to jump out of the barrel and run to get the crate of grapes before they could start
Cellar Controller Shawn Mathyse did the "OFF!"
Teresa Forrester filming it all
And the race for the crates
Three minutes of frantic grape stomping took place
It was interesting to watch the different methods and strategies
Some used only one foot! There is not much room in a barrel
Holding each other up
Four beauties in a barrel
Not enough room for all four!
And a very clever strategy of close contact and revolving while stomping in the barrel
It certainly paid off
"Faster, faster" Shawn kept shouting to keep them going when he saw them flagging. It is very energetic
We have done some of this in the past, but we are now well past it
Go girls!
Setting up the table for lunch service
The Wagyu beef burgers came from the 92 Winery Road restaurant, run by Ken's brother, Allan Forrester
Trays of crispy bacon 
You could choose your own toppings
Half a bun, a large burger patty on top of lettuce and tomato, topped with crisp bacon, and a dash of all three sauces - tomato, mayonnaise and barbecue
Plus some of Ken's fantastic Crunchy Chilli which added lots of zing to a really good burger
Loading the burger
Or you could top off with cheese which melted on the hot burger
The "workers" straining off the juice from the stomped grapes
They were very conscientious and made sure every drop of juice was recovered
so that it could be measured to see who had produced the most
Caroline van Schalkwyk with Allan Forrester, who was delivering the food from the restaurant
Serenaded by the band while we enjoyed lunch in the shade
The winners of the first round of Stomping were from Germany and called their team German Big Feet
They each won a bottle of Ken Forrester wine
They are now talking about taking this competition home to their German city!
Time for the second round and if you look carefully you can see there is a small child squashed in that barrel with his parents, stomping away. 
A conga line in a barrel! And the farm dog Maggie looks on with a puzzled look
She did enjoy licking the juice off peoples’ feet afterwards
Using two strainers and a bucket to get the final result is messy work
Getting the last dregs out. Shawn is strong!
In the cool tasting room
Dessert was a summer berry Eton Mess with wonderful thick yellow cream
Or a slice of chocolate tart. Or both!
Announcing the results of the 2nd stomping competition
The winners were a very happy family team called "Fortnight"
(No, we don't know why, perhaps they were here on holiday?) A wonderful day was had by all
Thanks to you all at Ken Forrester
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