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One year at Altydgedacht

Altydgedacht Winery is a new vineyard to us here at CDV. We started stocking their Gewürtztraminer last year and as yet we haven't been able to visit this beautiful place!

However stocking wines from here was an easy decision to make, as they have a new winemaker Helgard van Schalkwyk. We have known Helgard for years as previously he was the winemaker at Lynx Winery in Franschhoek.

Here is his account of his 1st year at the new vineyard.

" I started at Altydgedacht on the 1st of September 2020 and it's hard to believe that a year has passed... and what a year!

There have been a couple of downs (lockdowns that is!), but this has been a great year for us at Altydgedacht and I've not had this much fun in a while making wine!

Before our harvest started there was a bit of work to be done. Having not worked with most of the cultivars at Altydgedacht, I had to do quite a bit of learning to understand each varietal. We also had to make sure what was already in the tank and barrel fitted in with the vision for Altydgedacht and here and there some hard choices had to be made.

Our harvest started fairly late and on some of our varieties roughly 2-3 weeks later than normal. We had a cool summer which meant slow ripening and intense flavours. The Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer did particularly well. We had some unexpected rain in mid-March which could've been disastrous, but with some quick planning and scrambling around I managed to bring in the Pinotage before the rains could spoil the grapes.

In April I bottled my first ever Sauvignon blanc that I've made as a winemaker and in August I bottled the 2021 Gewurztraminer (to be released early next year) which is another first for me. I'm extremely pleased with both of these wines and loving the Sauvignon blanc. It's the perfect summer wine with amazing tropical fruit, white pears, and citrus flavours with hints of fig leaves on the back palate.

Within the next couple of months, we will release the Barbera 2020 and Pinotage 2019. Both of these wines are truly fantastic and heading in the direction I want them to go.

Chenin blanc Old Vines, planted in 1973

On the business side, we are slowly growing our sales within the South African market. The ban on alcohol sales has not helped much, but we are managing and doing surprisingly well all things considered. Internationally we are also making some inroads into new markets and hopefully will have a bigger presence throughout Europe and Asia by next year.

In the vineyards, all is quiet and going accordingly to plan. All of our vineyards have been pruned and the soil has been prepared for new vineyards to be planted in September/October. We are going to plant more Barbera and Chardonnay. Looking forward to next year, it seems we are on track for a great vintage (it helps that I now have a better feel for the vineyards) and we will also start with a major replanting program.

At Altydgedacht we are all excited to see how the next year goes. We are all optimistic that we will grow more and the wines will continue to improve. I for one am very excited about the new wines I have and will bottle"

We are looking forward to visiting this beautiful vineyard when we get back to South Africa next year. At the moment we are just stocking their Gewürztraminer but once we can get to the tasting room and taste their other varieties I am sure we will stock some other varieties.

In the meantime here is a link to the Gewürztraminer we do have!

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