Vernon van der Hoven, winemaker at Anthonij Rupert Wyne is quietly excited as he speaks about the new Cape of Good Hope cellar being commissioned for the very first time this year. ”It’s an absolute pleasure to work in the new cellar - we have so much space this year!”
The basic design of the new 1200 ton cellar has huge operational benefits as it aids the steady flow of grapes being received and processed compared to previous years. There are also more covered areas in which trucks and forklifts can move.
Vernon says although the vineyards have been struggling and bunches are generally smaller due to the lack of water; the overall quality of the grapes seem to be good this year. “There is definitely a decline in yields, but the quality is on track, thanks to the dedicated work done by our viticultural team”
Vinpro estimates 2018’s harvest as one of the smallest in more than a decade in the South African wine industry. As the drought continues in the Western Cape, and water supplies come under severe pressure, it means that yields between 25% and 50% less is expected.
However, not all is doom and gloom; as smaller crops can often mean more intense colour and concentrated flavours in the berries. The effect of dry windy conditions also results in less spraying and minimising disease control.
The state of the art new Nico Velo-tanks from Italy have been installed in the cellar and are made from concrete and designed for red wine fermentation and ageing. Ceramic amphorae used for wine fermentation and storage, is as old as the ancient Greek/Roman culture and has a long history in European winemaking. Like stainless steel, concrete preserves the juice’s fruit quality during fermentation.
When walking through our new Cape of Good Hope cellar and seeing these majestic like tanks reminiscent of gigantic wine amphorae…you can’t help but feel a sense of time and history. They make a huge statement with their almost tulip / teacup like shapes which are tapered towards the top. Since they are smaller at the top, the oxygen bubbles that rise during fermentation are pressured to move more quickly.
The shape also compresses the cap throughout the fermentation process, which ensures good colour extraction.
The microscopically porous walls allow for micro-oxygenation, which helps with the graceful ageing of red wines as well as providing that round mid-palate which come with slow oxygen release similar to barrel maturing red wines.
The tanks also have other features which include optional ports for racking and cleaning, heating and cooling coils. There is a cooling system too, hidden within the walls of the tank itself. The blending possibilities of the tanks are significant, allowing us to make excellent quality wines on a larger scale.
Some of Nico Velo’s most famous customers include Château Cheval Blanc (Bordeaux – France), Chapoutier (Rhone - France) and Carmel Winery (Israel), and we are proud to join their ranks!