Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Post-harvest 2012 Vilafonte Wine Club newsletter

It has been a wonderful time in the Vilafonté winery and vineyards and we now enter into a post-harvest calm period. We are happy to report that the 2012 vintage has been perhaps the highlight of the past decade and we have achieved a continuation of our ever-improving quality. This is quite impressive after a string of four vintages since 2009 that have potential for greatness. We keep raising our own standards and the results are very satisfying. The 2012 harvest can be characterised by a couple of key quality indicators.

The first indicator, berry size, indicated that we had larger berries than our statistical average. This has resulted in lush, pretty wines that will have lower tannin levels than many of our previous vintages. The 2012 vintage is ‘showy’ and produced impressive wines that will please many critics, but will perhaps not have the longevity of the spectacular 2009 vintage. Many members have stocked up on the 2009 specifically because of its above average ageing potential. The larger berry size contributed to an increased yield of high quality juice, despite the fact that we barely produced 3 tons per hectare – an incredibly low yield by any industry standards.

A second characteristic of the 2012 harvest was a much later harvest date than usual. This is a consequence of unusually cool ripening conditions that allowed the vines to reach phenological ripeness at a slow measured pace. These ripening conditions were absolutely ideal, despite an unseasonal heat wave in early January, which caused many wineries such damage. We would be delighted if we could get these conditions every year. In 2012 we finally commenced harvest on Valentines Day February 14th, well ahead of the rest of the industry, as is our norm, but unusually 2 weeks behind our average harvest commencement date.

In general, we can report that we have had excellent results and we feel that the vintage will produce some ‘show-stoppers’. The 2012 vintage will now remain in barrel for another 2 years allowing our wines to continue their development into the bottle and for release in about 2014.

our soil-type is called 'vilafontes'

Included in this newsletter is a photograph, which epitomises what Vilafonté is all about. This simple image, taken during harvest 2012, is an image of Vineyard Manager Edward Pietersen with a handful of our precious vilafontes soil – the very essence of what our wines are all about. The ‘heart’ connection with our Valentines Day harvest date is entirely coincidental.

Our wine club continues its measured growth and we have many new developments in the pipeline including newly upgraded wine packaging, a winter mixed case vertical offer and a brand new club website. We have planned a number of discrete member-only events across the country, which we will be communicating separately. Thank you to so many of you for having recommended friends and colleagues for membership. While we cannot accept all applications, we will always strive to accommodate referrals.

Vilafonté Wine Club Manager, Sophia Hawkins is committed to engaging with our members exclusively. Her details remain and her direct-dial phone is 021-8864083. Remember, no request is too much trouble.

While the Vilafonté winery is not open to the general public, I would like to personally ensure you that as a wine club member, we will always welcome you with open arms. Let us know when you are in Stellenbosch.

Thank you for your support and your engagement.

Mike Ratcliffe
Managing Partner 

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