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Saltare harvest 2024 in words and images – a journey of newness

Who knew that four weeks could bring so many new impressions and places? When we travel to distant lands we expect them, but to discover hidden valleys, unknown routes, and passionate people in one’s own region is like encountering surprising new traits in a long-time friend.

Simonsberg at sunrise from the Vlaeberg

Not one, but four new vineyards has made Harvest 2024 one of our most memorable. We harvested our first grapes on Tuesday morning the 8th of January, Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch’s Vlaeberg, owners Nicky and Steve with four-footed Sophie carefully stewarding the grapes all the way to the cellar.

We crossed the Breede River through a flooded drift to reach Sunshine Farm’s Chardonnay vineyard on the south bank. It delicately complements the two new young blocks just 5km east on my uncle Fritz’s farm.

A stone in hand glittering with minerals
Soils with rocks that glitter white with calcite. An ancient tree amidst rows of vineyard, left there for the birds to nest. That night, an orchestra of crickets and frogs by the river. Swallows dancing above and greeting eagerly in the early morning. Horses with flair and poise. Cling peaches that crunch and then melt away in your mouth.

Then, an early morning drive up Sir Lowry’s Pass into Elgin’s folds and morning mist to reveal a steeply sloping Pinot Noir vineyard - its new flavours and textures on my palate at the press is a delicious discovery. I can’t wait to see what qualities this will add to our Cap Classiques.

The last harvest day, our Swartland Syrah, on the 1st of February, the two rows were hanging heavy with beautiful grapes after good winter rains. It was a delight to meet new owner, Alan, and to catch up with my old classmate, Chris.

Crates loaded up on ZM’s trusty trailer, we follow the route back to the cellar one last time, through Stellenbosch, past the strawberry farm and up the Eikendal road, up and up as far as it will take you to Lushof Cellar, the new home for making Saltare.

That’s right! After 15 memorable harvests at Welgevallen Cellar it was time to move. Lushof ticked all the boxes and any pre-harvest jitters proved needless. The daily early-morning views from high up in the Helderberg across the panorama of the peninsula around to Stellenbosch’s mountains punctuated Harvest 2024’s newness again and again.

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