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Day 6 - A Vineyard since 1861

Another day another vineyard!

Today we are again on the outskirts of Stellenbosch at Bellevue Wine Estate and Theresa meets us to guide us through their range of wines.

We have been selling wines from here for quite some time and they basically have 3 ranges.

The first range we stock are a couple of varieties(their Chenin and their Shiraz) and you will find these on our House wine list - great affordable wines but still quality, definitely not ‘Plonk!’. We are going to add another red to this range - a relatively unusual grape Cinsault in SA - in our tasting today we loved it and it will sit nicely with the other house wines.

The second range of wines are more complex. The wines have matured nicely over time having been aged in oak barrels for at least 12 months. This technique adds complementary flavours and helps their depth and longevity. A rosé and white wine can be from the vine to the shelf in a year which of course is great for cash flow! But an aged wine can take anything from 3 to 5 years to reach the point of sale. Apart from the cash flow problems this causes, there are other things to be considered. Space is one of the main ones - plus the wines need to be kept at an even temperature throughout - therefore it could be up to 6 years before any money is received!

We again are looking at this range to see which wines to stock. Bellevue have in the past been successful in having a good range of wines in Woolworth food stores here in SA. (Woolworths here is the top supermarket - not the store we remember in the UK). This a good sign of quality wines being produced at this farm.

The third range is 1953, it is the premium wine made from the oldest vines on the farm which now due to their age have a very low yield but top-quality grapes!

Dirkie Morkel the viticulturist says "You cannot make good wine with bad grapes. My job and responsibility is to ensure that only the best quality grapes get to the cellar to enable the winemaker to create wines we can be proud of” Again decisions need to be made as to which wines we will import.


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