Winetech Pilot Program - Terroir Tasting at Anthonij Rupert Wyne

The Winetech Study Groups run throughout the year in the winelands and now has an extended pilot programme for Senior Cellar Assistants which really engenders a feeling of life-long learning.

For 2018, there is one theoretical and one physical tasting, and I attended one of the tastings - which was held on 20 Sept by CVC at Anthonij Rupert Wyne. The tasting was presented by their passionate viticulturist Deborah Isaacs. Cellar assistants attending must be literate and have successfully completed the WTSA SKOP 3 qualification.

The tasting focused on Terroir - and its affect on wine. These workshops have drawn interest and attendees from Cederberg, Vergenoegd, Morgenster, Kanonkop, Alvi's Drift, De Grendel, Rupert & Rothschild, De Doorns, Opstal and Lammershoek, and next week Gary Baumgarten will present to a 2nd group.
It was very revealing to taste through such vastly different terroirs. From a very chilly Villiersdorp, the high altitude Elandskloof where the Cape of Good Hope Altima Sauvignon Blanc hails from - produced a very typical steely sauvignon blanc - just delicious and fresh!

We had 3 whites from Elandskloof and then the reds were quite different - and my favourite two were the Riebeekrivier Western Slopes, which is a Shiraz based strong red with some Grenache and then a bit of Carrignan. Such a delicious plump red - also from the Cape of Good Hope range, which are all site specific. One of the other reds was from the Southern Slopes just around the corner - also Shiraz based, but has dollops of Mourvèdre and Petit Syrah. These are the famous slopes on the Kasteelberg that the Leeu & Mullineux, Columella and Leeuwenkuil are sourced from, so no wonder they are just scrumptious and rich in flavour.

After our tasting, Deborah took us up to their new plantings of Merlot up towards the mountain, where they are on a serious mission to extend their plantings - good to hear since so many others are pulling out their vineyards.
The vines are bush vines but each with their own trellised pole and planted very close together, causing havoc of course with any mechanical spraying and weeding requirements.  A custom-built tractor had to be imported, which sits above the vineyards and makes as little impact as possible on the soil.

The Senior Cellar Assistants were really engaged by the tasting and trip to the vineyards, and it is very encouraging to see them grow and develop a keen interest in their work.