Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Who Gon Stop Me Huh?" - Kanye West

When it comes to my music RAP is Innovative, Original, Aggressive and Playful Masterpieces!
Here are samples of Rhymed Verses, which get me going!!

"My big brother was B.I.G.'s brother/ Used to be Dame and B.I.G.'s brother/ Who was hip-hop brother/ Who was No I.D. friend/ No I.D. my mentor/ Now let the story begin."

"She got an a-- that'll swallow up a G-string/ And up top, ugh, two bee stings/ And I'm beasting/ Off the Riesling"

(Did you realize
That you were a champion?
In their eyes)

Who Gon Stop Me
Black cards, black cars,
Black on black, black broads
Whole lotta money in a black bag
Black strap, you know what that’s for?

Who gon’ stop me huh?

Touch the Sky
I’m trying to write my wrongs,
But it’s funny these same wrongs helped me write this song.
Gotta testify, come up in the spot looking extra fly
Before the day you die, You gonna touch the sky

Bring Me Down
Made a mill myself, and I’m still myself
And I’ma look in the mirror if I need some help
Now I’ll speak from the heart, you all fronting
Everybody feel a way about K but at least you all feel something

Through the Wire
No use me tryin’ to be lyin’
I been trying to be signed
Trying to be a millionaire
How I use two lifelines
In the same hospital where Big and 2pac died
The doctor said I had blood clots
But I ain’t Jamaican man
Story on MTV and I ain’t trying to make the band
I swear this right here is history in the making man

 Can’t Tell Me Nothing
I had a dream I can buy my way to heaven
When I awoke, I spent that on a necklace.
I told God I’d be back in a second,
Man it’s so hard not to act reckless.
To whom much is given much is tested.
Get arrested, guess until, they get the message.
I feel the pressure, under more scrutiny,
And what I do? Act more stupidly.
Bought more jewelry, more Louis V, my momma couldn’t get through to me.
The drama, people suing me,
I’m on T.V. talking like it’s just you and me.
I’m just saying how I feel man,
I ain’t one of the Cosby’s I ain’t go to Hill man
I guess the money should’ve changed him,
I guess I should’ve forgot where I came from.

Flashing Lights
She don’t believe in shootin’ stars,
But she believe in shoes & cars
Wood floors in the new apartment,
couture from the store’s department

Take Note:
For years the drinks most associated with hip-hop were distinctly aspirational. Busta Rhymes rapped about Courvoisier, Jay-Z about Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades champagne. Kanye West, Drake and Lil' Kim have all rapped about the joys of moscato!

"Who gon’ stop me huh?"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cheers to a Short and Quick 2011 Harvest.

As the cellar team continues to work hard to put the 2011 White Wine in bottle I take time to reflect at this, my sixth harvest at Nederburg, and my ninth career harvest, having spent three harvests at Fleur du Cap as assistant winemaker.

Just like every year for the past six years at Nederburg I could never know how the harvest would turn out. I have enough experience to be comfortable with any eventuality but one thing that keeps me on my toes is wanting each harvest to be better than the previous ones. This drives me crazy! I want to always make the best possible wine in any year and in my books every new vintage has gotta be better than anything I made before. Now you might know this is easier said than done because a harvest is more influenced by factors beyond my control really.

A look at the harvesting period for the past four vintages shows the following:

2011: 18 Jan to 31 March.
2010: 20 Jan to 7 April.
2009: 26 Jan to 3 April.
2008: 23 Jan to 9 April.

Not much to choose from between the dates but there were marked differences between those years in terms of winter cold units, rainfall, temperature, and the severity of heat waves, wind, etc.

2011 harvest was short and quick. A day or two in harvesting terms is a lot. A day may well be what a separates an award winning wine from the rest! There were higher than average temperatures during February and March, which accelerated ripening significantly, with the harvest shortened by some days.

My team had to put in long hours (nothing new) and keep on-top of their game to make sure every grape load is processed with the same passion and focus that makes us a WINNING TEAM!

I am very excited with the overall quality of this year’s wines. What’s even more exciting is the quality of everyday-drinking wines like Nederburg Lyric and Nederburg Stein, which continues to improve. The balance of fruit and taste of these wines make them SUPER QUAFFERS!

On the other spectrum of more serious wines Chenin blanc received the most attention in terms of innovations in the cellar. I tried a few tricks with Chenin inspired by the Swartland Revolution and I am happy to share with you that some this wine will end up in bottle this year …WATCH THE SPACE!

I know it’s not easy but if I have to choose one wine, one tank, one cultivar that blew me away this vintage I will have to say “a particular tank of Sauvignon blanc, made with grapes from Ceres!!” I have not tasted anything this good in my time here at Nederburg. I wont reveal as yet which wine this tank will end up but I’ll be sure to tell when it happens.

I finish off by saying THANK YOU to everyone who contributed tirelessly to making this a memorable vintage for me and Team Nederburg and in particular THANK YOU Razvan Macici, Henk Van Graan, Hannes Van Rensburg, Danie Morkel, Wilhelm Pienaar and Red Wine Team (for ‘stealing’ our pipes, and pumps, hehehe!) and Kobus Gerber. Your support is everything to WINNING.

Cheers and Happy Wine Drinking!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


It's 19 days in counting since I received the first grapes in the cellar. Nineteen days only!! It feels like I have been harvesting for ever. To date I received a total of One Thousand Eight Hundred tonnes (yes tonnes!) of grapes and that's about a third of what's still to come.

My first grapes, Chenin blanc, came from Paarl on 18th January and all indication at the time was that the grapes were ripening at low balling. I was very happy with the quality and level of fruit. The Chenin tank has long been 'forgotten' (lying low in the cellar since it's finished fermenting). This will make part of Nederburg sparkling wine, Cuvee Brut. The rest of the fruit continues to come with impressive quality.

In days to follow the harvest machinery moved to 2nd, 3rd and 5th gear (skipping 4th) and day in, day out, my day (night) was running into the late hours. This makes part of the fun, the pressure, long hours, challenges, risks, u name it. It may all sound nice and easy when we talk about the finished wine but gosh it takes a hell lot of 'shouting', talking, running, walking, eating, anxiety, ... and making wine.

After Chenin blanc I brought in some Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay and more Chenin for Nederburg Lyric. I am proud of this wine and the 2010 vintage received Platter's super-quaffer of the year title. Lyric is roughly 60% Sauvignon, 20% Chenin blanc and 20% Chardonnay. The blend is off-dry and varies slightly vintage to vintage.

Last week saw the first of the barrel fermented Chardonnay coming through the cellar doors. All good although with smaller berries but good concentration. It's early days to comment what's gonna happen with the rest of the Chardonnay.

I was very excited about the Pinot Gris grapes I received from Darling area. I made my first Pinot Gris last year under the Nederburg Winemasters Reserve range and it's currently available in Canada. Can't wait for it to go local!

Main project so far is FairTrade and Organic wine fermenting in cellar. Looking pretty so far and can't wait for the final thing..

As you can imagine I haven't had much sleep lately and my weekends are spent in the cellar. It's an honour and privilege to be involved in such a complex and focused business of making wine and above all still NATURE RULES. We had a pretty bad run of heat in the past few days and are 'praying' for cooler weather. The harvest has not been affected so far but if the heat persists we could loose crop in some areas, especially the dry land areas.

If I have to predict the most challenging wine to make this year it will be Sauvignon blanc, because it's a grape that shines under cooler conditions. The most interesting grape to work with will be Chenin (bush vines) because of it's versatility and it will present good blending options.  I 'm looking forward to both.

"Cheers Everyone" and wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"You are hired.....!"

The year is 2002, a day before my final year exam at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). I get a phone call from a gentleman who introduces himself as Mr. Johan Briedenhann, and he invites me for a meeting the following day after my exam.

I can't remember the exact day or date (wish I could though) when I went to Distell Head Office in Dorp Street to meet Mr Hennie Heyl, group Director for production. I didn't know what the meeting was about or what to expect but I knew Distell was the biggest wine company in this land, south of Africa.

I was offered coffee, which I gladly accepted, then the conversations started. He was straight to the point. "What are your plans after you graduate?" Yo, where do I start to answer, I thought to myself?
This was the first time I was confronted by someone with this sort of questioning, not that I was not thinking about it.

Throughout the four years of studying at SU I 'knew' I would go back to Zim after completing my studies. It never occurred to me I could stay and work in the winelands in South Africa. My heart was set on going back and make wine at Mukuyu Winery in Marondera. I was excited about the prospects of returning home a qualfied winemaker. It meant a great deal to me to go back and 'shine' amongst my peers.

My answer was straight forward. " I am going back to make wine in Zimbabwe." I was so naive about the realities in Zim at the time (year 2002).

My conversation with Mr. Heyl touched on a number of aspects about my career as a winemaker. Did I mention that I did my internship in my final year at Fleur du Cap wines (Bergkelder), one of the wineries owned by Distell? 

This day, this meeting, changed my life. It opened up another world I never dreamt about. I knew I had to start a new dream. A dream that I have been living since.

I was hired and started working permanently at Fleur du Cap wines in January 2003 as assistant winemaker(white wine department) under Kobus Gerber.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My first sip...

Growing up in a catholic family it was taboo to 'touch" alcohol so I never tried the stuff until I was 22 studying at University of Zimbabwe. My first drink was Bohlingers, a pale lager brewed in Zim with a crisp taste and barely any aftertaste.