Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pressing News from Bergwater

- Chantal Hounsom-Schoeman -

By the time you read this, we should be well under way with the harvesting of our grapes. The exciting news is that for the first time this year, the complete process of wine making is taking place at the Bergwater cellar.

In previous years, the grapes were sent to Barrydale Co-Op/Winery, where wine-maker, Mariska, would spend months, tending to her wine.

Over the last couple of months you may have witnessed many a stainless steel tank (in a range of sizes) trundling through the town. Teams of rigging crew have been busy installing these and various other fascinating pieces of cellar equipment since November 2008 - working long, arduous hours to have it all operating on time for this year’s harvest.

Quite a hive of industry has been taking place behind stone walls: steel walkways being erected, pumps and cooling devices being coupled and tested, to name a few. The most thrilling and nail biting moment for us all was when each tank had to be hoisted upright and carefully manoeuvred in to its exact demarcated position.

Come and join us one day at the cellar during this year’s harvest (continuing until end of March) to watch (through glass doors) the intriguing goings-on.

Incidentally, most of the equipment was ready for operation on Day One of the harvest in February, albeit in the afternoon, causing a backlog of grapes to be sorted and processed. Thirty-four tons of Sauvignon Blanc grapes were picked that day.

The de-stalking and pressing machines started up at 15h00 and by 22h30, 10litres of delicious grape juice had been pumped into the first tank. The pressing continued until 01h00 the next morning!

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