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“2 Years ago I received a phone call from a (very excited) good friend and viticulturist Jaco Engelbrecht. He was standing in the veld with one of his clients, Andre du Toit, who had just purchased a farm in the Voor-Paardeberg.
On their walk, they had just stumbled upon a lone vine. Upon further investigation they discovered more vines – growing on the forest floor, into trees etc. The interesting thing was that they seemed to be planted in rows – all pointing to the fact that at some stage this had been a commercial vineyard.
Andre, being the new owner, then phoned up the previous farmer. It then transpired that 40 years before the owner had planted that block of Chenin blanc with the goal of producing grapes for the closest big cooperative winery. He had farmed the vineyard successfully for 15 years, whereafter the crop declined and he had made the decision to stop farming the vineyard, as it hadn’t been financially viable anymore.
But instead of removing the vines, he had just left them there. They grew in the bushes for 25 years. He never pruned or harvested them – they were just completely abandoned, with no irrigation, growing into trees totally in the wild.
The reason for my friend Jaco’s call? They wanted to know if I’d be interested in buying the grapes.
And so the project started. Jaco and Andre started by tidying up the vineyard and removing the plants between the vines that were still alive. The vines had not been pruned for 25 years and this resulted in no thick arms like you would get in commercially-farmed bush vine vineyards. They were thin and flimsy. After a very light pruning in winter, the first crop was ready in 2018. We made 1 barrel from the grapes it produced. So here you go – this vineyard’s first crop in 25 years – a straight Chenin blanc – OORBEGIN 2018 (directly translated it means “START-OVER”, referring to a new beginning for the vineyard.)” – Winemaker’s notes
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