Love and harvest in the air in Franschhoek
It’s the month of love, and what better destination to spoil that someone special than in the beautiful Franschhoek Wine Valley. Now that wine sales have resumed it’s the perfect opportunity to visit some of the farms in the area.
To get you on the right track we’ll paint a Valentine’s portrait for you.
With Valentine’s Day taking place on a Sunday it’s the perfect excuse to make a day of your Franschhoek outing. Known for serving some of the best freshly brewed coffee in the village (not forgetting delicious breakfasts and brunches), Big Dog Café is without a doubt a highlight for any occasion. Situated in the heart of the village why not take a leisurely stroll along the Main Road after your meal and browse the many quaint niche shops and galleries you’re bound to find. Not forgetting the side streets as you may uncover a few hidden retail gems.
If you’re still rather full after breakfast perhaps a High Tea experience at Le Lude may be your partner’s cup of tea. With their luxurious setting you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to the Great Gatsby era.
Make the most of your visit and book an overnight stay in one of the many luxurious accommodation establishments in and around the village. Choose from luxury boutique hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts and self-catering establishments. Opt to stay in one of the many establishments located within the village or for a more secluded establishment – located on farms in and around the valley.
An overnight stay allows you the opportunity to dine at one of the many fine-dining establishments in the area. These include the popular Protégé Restaurant, Roca (let’s remind you of their breath-taking views) and Reuben’s Restaurant.
After breakfast the next day and before heading home why not schedule a non-wine related activity, which horse-back riding in the vineyards, hiking trails, garden tours or a cultural experience.
This is just a mere taster of what you’re bound to find and our website has so much more information for you to browse when planning the perfect romantic getaway.
Let’s not forget that the months of February and March have great significance in the wine industry, in that it symbolises the celebration of the harvest. This integral part of the winemaking process is a carefully curated journey from vineyard to bottle, which requires the focused attention of the winemaker and their teams. Their days start before the sun rises and some days ends as the sun sets. These long hours in the hot sun are worth it, as it allows the winemaker to create the perfect wine, we as consumers get to sip, sample and savour. It is also the time to truly reflect and value the journey the grape embarks on.
We checked in with some of our Vignerons for their input on this year’s harvest, which despite some challenges in the last year, we remain hopeful will be bountiful.
According to Holden Manz owner and chairperson of the Vignerons, Gerard Holden, as usual the Franschhoek Wine Valley presents a diverse series of growing locations so there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Growers at the entrance of the valley seem to be on track with a harvest of average quality and quantity. In the heart of the region yields are currently above average, the crop is delayed by a week or so compared to “normal” and the quality is on the higher side. The Cap Classique producers have already started harvesting Chardonnay for their base wine. The Bo Hoek vineyards are approximately three weeks later than previous years with some inversion of varietal ripeness. Cabernet Sauvignon in particular is well advanced while Merlot is taking her time to ripen. Veraison is in course and crop quality and quantity both appear to be excellent although the potential for heatwaves in February remains which can quickly alter the course of the vintage.
Head winemaker at Anthonij Rupert Wyne, Dawie Botha is of the opinion that after a very good wet winter and a relatively cool spring, which delayed initial growth and led to challenges in terms of disease control. Although budding appeared homogenous, flowering was uneven, followed by poor set in some cultivars caused by a very windy season. They expect a slight decrease in crop load compared to 2020, but the quality of 2021 looks very promising.
Further down in the valley GlenWood Vineyards Cellarmaster, DP Burger is sitting in similar boat in that their harvest is also delayed, but at this stage their crop looks fantastic. Despite the excellent high temperatures, the acids are holding up beautifully and the ripening period seems to be slow, which he anticipates are indicating an exceptional 2021 vintage. The grapes are extremely healthy and those viticulturists who were wary of the “Hermanus Sickness” or better known as Oidium, are well away to harvest some excellent grapes!
Wishing all of our producers the best for the 2021 vintage and may this year be the one to remember for the great quality grapes and excellent wines.