Monday, May 25, 2009

Comments on 2009 Vilafonte Harvest - Zelma Long

From the Vilafonte perspective, 2009 was an exceptionally fine vintage, yielding beautiful fruit, harvested in perfect condition, with exceptional color and flavor intensity, characteristics which easily carried through into the wines. For example, our Merlot may well be the finest in structure, balance and flavors that I have worked with, anywhere. Our good fortune was that our harvest was complete before a siege of hot weather hit the later harvested red varieties, and we were shielded by mountains from the fires that burned around Stellenbosch to Somerset West. This was a harvest to celebrate!

The weather: The simplest description for the ripening weather, through to our final harvest, was: “consistent, and mild”. It is not unusual for the Cape to experience weeks of warm weather in December, January, or February, but in 2009 our Vilafonte site did not see high peak temperatures. Our harvest timing was fortunate to occur during the mild weather in February; slightly earlier than we had expected, discussed below.

The vineyard: Vilafonte vineyard was in excellent condition going into, throughout, and for weeks after harvest. The vines showed a healthy green and maintained good water status. As a result of the mild weather, the grapes ripened without the hesitation that is caused by hot weather that delays photosynthesis and sugar accumulation; 2009 mild weather gave a very efficient ripening curve.

The harvest: This 2009 weather pattern produced fruit with lovely acid balance from vines with normal but not excessive stress…beautiful grapes, small but not tiny; deeply colored with fresh, lively flavors. Our crop was modest, neither excessive nor tiny. Both total and extractable anthocyanins (color) were quite high; but tannins were ripe and appropriate for the respective Bordeaux varieties. Harvest started February 5 with Merlot, and Malbec followed immediately. Our Vilafonte estate harvest was completed with the last Cabernet harvest on March 2.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Brand Hooligans conference - Mike speaks


Cherryflava conference: Brand Hooligans - Creating a brand experience that makes people nuts about you [video link]

On Thursday 28 May 2009 Cherryflava will host an experiential marketing conference in Cape Town called BRAND HOOLIGANS - Creating a brand experience that makes people crazy about you. The event will showcase the city's most creative and successful marketing practitioners in a unique marketing conference format designed to generate maximum insight into their successful strategies and future opportunities as they see it. It's a must-attend event for marketers, creative professionals, entrepreneurs and strategists keen to gain insight into how a carefully crafted experience can be the most efficient and effective marketing tool a brand can employ. Tickets to the conference are very limited. Only 30 are available for purchase. The speaker line up includes:

Rui Esteves & Brad Armitage [founders vida e caffe and and now Brewers & Union] - Building a world-class South African brand: The devil's in the detail
Jody Aufrichtig [co-creator of the Old Biscuit Mill and The Grand Daddy and one of South Africa's most prolific and successful business innovators] - Re-imaging the way things are done
Porky Hefer [celebrated creative director and founder of Animal Farm - an award-winning creative consultancy that is quickly redesigning the world] - Innovation inspiration from the world around you
Mike Ratcliffe [Platter's guide 2009 5-star award-winner and partner/owner of Stellenbosch-based Warwick Wines and Vilefonte] - Experience is the only real marketing tool we've got left
Gareth Cotton [the 24-year old entrepreneur and creator of Chariot Limousines] - 10 recession busting marketing ideas in 3 blocks
Jonathan Cherry [editor of Cherryflava] - How to market like Marilyn Manson

When: Thursday 28 May 2009
Where: Boo Radley's, Cape Town CBD
Time: 1:00pm - 6:30pm

Price: R950 per ticket. To book your seat: E-mail Jon Cherry -
Bookings close: 20 May 2009 [no tickets to be sold after this date]

[video link]