Harvest update from winemaker Jan van Rooyen

Winemakers are generally known to be creative souls and Avontuur’s winemaker Jan van Rooyen or Janwijn as he is known in the industry is no exception.

Knee-deep in the harvest at the moment, Jan still finds time to listen to his favourite opera aria’s and classical music very loudly as the tonnes of grapes come into the cellar and expensive machinery rumble in the background.

This is also the time of the year when he entertains us with his musings on the harvest and we share some of his thoughts verbatim below!

“WEEK 3 OF 2015
While I am writing, the sounds of In Trutina by Carl Orff are resounding through the cellar from my speakers, so here goes:
The 2015 harvest @ Avontuur Estate opened on Friday the 16th of January with some beautiful Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our Brut (from blocks C5 and C2 respectively) !! Thankfully no major breakdowns occurred and by 12h30 the first press of the new season started…

I took the time to quickly go through our earlier records of the harvest and noted that this day was another first time achievement for us:  16 January is the earliest harvest day ever…! (Well, I could only track back until 1998 and saw that the closest to this date was 17 Jan in 2006 – also with Chardonnay, by the way…)

WOW, is this climate change… ?”

And then a few weeks later into the harvest, more thoughts followed:

“Whilst I am in the cellar working and waiting for the Eskom shedding in order to resuscitate the heart of a wine cellar (i.e. the cooling plant), I thought it is time for a few more words on our 2015 harvest progress…

Week 5 (26 Jan – 1 Feb)
On Tuesday 27 Jan the first SBL came in from block D5 (must be earliest ever…?) plus more P Noir from E2 (for Minelli) and with this we already finished our second block of PN for the season…!
Later that week followed more Chard from E5 and C5 respectively and we then also klapped all the PN from D2 over 2 days (again for Minelli), which meant that by 30 Jan we had reached our first half-century, yep 51.943 tons in the cellar, exactly one calendar day after the start of harvest last year…!

Week 6 (2 Feb – 8 Feb)
Another exciting week as we took more SBL from D5 followed by all of the Viognier from C2 on 5 Feb, looking so good on the day that we did our harvest blessing (many thanks for that…) and this day we totaled 100 bins for the season so far (together with the 1 022 kissies of the first 4 harvest days, we are well on our way towards the first century…)

Friday 6 Feb saw us take the last of the Pinot Noir for 2015 (yeah !) with the arrival of 6.344 tons from old AB2 block, so we ended the week with 74.178 tons in the cellar as new arrival Jacobus joined Rensie-Lorenzo and myself to complete the cellar team for 2015.

Phew, the week ahead will see more SBL and Chard falling safely in our cellar,

Winemaker signing off…



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Cape Town
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