Dawn in South Africa is 5am. And I have seen a few this trip. It’s what happens when you are working with a perfectionist photographer. 9am just will not do; the light is too harsh. Dinners in South Africa tend to go on a bit and winemakers are very liberal with their creations. Hence I'm now, at the airport, not at my creative best. But I have to write my report now. I really have to.
Vibrant. Multicolourful. Original. Optimistic. Joyous. Successful; South African Wine. Get a box of it. Light up a dark British Winter. Wines that sing. And maybe do a little dance.
Went to Klein Constantia Estate to meet the lovely Adam Mason. Dear old Adam who, fresh out of college here, got a place on Jean-Marc's Flying Winemakers' team and did so well we got him back for four more vintages. Then, still young he got the Winemakers job at Klein which could be considered the most illustrious estate here. I remember Barbara and I visited him just before he took up the post.
It’s taken me 16 years to get back here and guess what? He left the job two days ago. Owner 'Lol' has sold the Estate (much against his will) so Adam decided to plunge into some wild new ventures. But this morning he came back to show us round the lovely place whilst telling us about his plans. Becca and I immediately keen to back him in pretty much whatever he does. What else are friends for?
We saw a baboon in their vineyard. Thought it was a dog at first, running straight at us. Changed its mind, thank God.
After a nice lunch by Adam’s partner in his new venture (who is a top chef but I've lost his name) we were collected by Bruce Jack and driven far east over the hills into the cool Overberg. This bit of what looks like Scotland (+baboons) is still mostly all wheat but Bruce has planted new vineyards. Because it’s cool. Certainly is! Sweaters on chaps. And the rain! Scottish-style horizontal. But then it suddenly stops. Sun comes out and it looks stunning. Yves over the moon. Thanks for the braii, Bruce. Does everyone pour an 1890 South African wine at their barbecues here. I think not.
Running out of time. Flight called.
And that's it.
So much more to write and tell. But that's next week’s job. Along with the rest. I hear they just broke their sales record yet again! Time to get home.