Graham Knox

September 2016

Philippi Vineyards Rise Again

When Public Broadcasting System (USA) photo-journalist Martin Seemungal drifted an aerial drone carrying a camera over the shacklands of Gugulethu, the lens revealed action in a backyard. Manelisi Mapukata was planting vines behind his home. Manelisi expects that these vines provide the grapes that will make his first wines at The Township Winery in 2019…. Continue reading …

March 2016

Favourable Winds

The famous leaning pines of Koekenaap show the effect of the intense south west ocean winds on plants growing on the north bank of the Olifants River. Wind is invisible but it can leave visible traces. The Western Cape is the windiest major wine region in the world. Where the wind is strongest and most… Continue reading …

March 2016

Grapes of Love

Can there be a prouder vine grower than Manelisi Mapukata, one of Gugulethu’s newest. These baby Muscat vines in his township block will bear their first grapes in 2018. In the following year, Manelisi will be expecting his first Chardonnay crop from his Fezeka block, also in Gugulethu. Manelisi took over his family’s garden in urban Gugulethu after… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

Discovery of a classic

Jacques Borman is making wines of world renown in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. His 2015 Boschkloof Epilogue Syrah was recently given 98 points by Tim Atkin. That was South Africa’s top scoring wine ever by an international judge. Travel Designer’s Canadian guests Katherine Ballentine and Eddie Macken had a bottle opened for them by… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

Expanding north and east

Snow in Stellenbosch? Not in the next million years. But Stellenbosch is no longer the whole world for Cape wines. This is one of three new vineyards on the Klondyke Cherry Farm on the Matroosberg north east of Ceres. The Garlick family have planted Riesling, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc to take advantage of the… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

Why so bashful?

The makers of biodynamic wines are true crafters. They allow their product to do the talking. For reasons that are not clear to me, they are more than usually private about the practices they follow, particularly when you know they are trying to sell their goods. The biodynamic methods are clearly aimed at making a… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

Golden handcuffs

In the early days of the current era of South Africa’s heritage of wine, before 1994, a wine estate cellarmaster would be offered a remuneration package that included a family home, family transport and many other perks. Most winemakers moving into a new job accepted the deal. Nico van der Merwe is not your standard… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

Small is beautiful

There are several wines, made separately, then combined, in every bottle of the great Constantia sweet wines. Blended together just before bottling, each adds a precious dimension. Kelsey Shungking is giving the very sweet Grand Constance juice contact with oxygen, to boost the rate of fermentation. This portion will make up the majority of the… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

The puberty stage in a red vineyard

All red wines are made from grapes with pigmented skins. If you get some of this red grape skin liquid on your clothes at harvest time you will know that it is a highly effective dye. It’s a little bit less dramatic when it’s red wine that is doing the job (the red dye has… Continue reading …

Blog Category A

Aerial espionage

When Public Broadcasting System (USA) photo-journalist Martin Seemungal drifted an aerial drone carrying a camera over the shacklands of Gugulethu, the lens revealed action in a backyard. Manelisi Mapukata was planting vines behind his home. Manelisi expects that these vines provide the grapes that will make his first wines at The Township Winery in 2019.