Is the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands the most wine empowered hotel in the Winelands? Well there is a vineyard for starters: 60 Sauvignon Blanc vines and 40 of Semillon, planted on a steep Douro-like terrace above the mighty Liesbeek River, shown below.
The vineyard was planted four years ago and has been a disappointment to date. As Francois Malan from Simonsig noted “in the first year, the horticulturalists trained the vine like a tree. 1.5m high with shoots extending along the top wire. We has to cut it right back in the second year and start again.” Another factor was the shading of the vineyard by big trees, one of which fell into the river (above) last week, so the future is bright.
There will be no shortage of winemaker input for the first vintage expected next year. For Meerlust, Klein Constantia, Warwick, Waterford and Simonsig are all partners. Pruning was cut short by a rain storm as Francois (below) reckoned cutting a vine in the rain can lead to tandpyn (toothache) which wiped out the Wellington apricot orchards in the sixties.
Today our apricots come from Prince Albert in the Karoo. Or Turkey, via Woolworths, if you live in Newlands.