Thursday, 11 January 2018

2017 AN AWESOME YEAR AT FYNBOS




Johan and I, looking back over 2017, are delighted by an abundance of awesome happenings both for Fynbos and for Dragonridge wines. Such lovely people have stayed here, partied, married, come for wine tastings and feasts and run retreats and workshops. Our online write-ups and ratings are extremely high, not to mention all the positive comments written and told to us. The gist of the feedback is that this is a very special and unusual place- a gem, a jewel and such like.  What better could one hope for.




Our team

None of our success would be possible without our committed and good spirited team.  As always Charlie and Doubt make a great pair in the wine cellar and on the bar, and they generally look after the farm wonderfully, while the women Priscilla and Virginia have run housekeeping with commitment and lots of hard work. We have recently lost Eliot and Precious due to visa problems, but employed two new permanent members of staff - Arlington who can weld, work in wood and drive, and his wife Rose who helps with housekeeping.  Also new to the team is Romayne Midgely - helping part time with financials, and she comes along with her pooch Wobbles – now too a part time member of the farm. On the marketing front there is great excitement as Tharien Pieterse joins Lisa Du Plooy, Johann Human and I to get us much more out there. So watch this space and like/follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.  Andy and Becky were here early in the year making wine and are soon to return, and we have had lovely volunteers as always.  And of course Gail has managed all manner of things – including a host of successful events - with her usual potency and generosity.



Out and about

This last year we were much more out and about taking Dragonridge and Fynbos to the world. We provided wine for the SOLO art opening at Riebeek Kasteel, exhibited at the SIP show in Paternoster and the TOPS at SPAR show.  And in the UK Andy and Becky have been selling Dragonridge wine alongside their Kershaw wines made with Fynbos grapes. We now have 2 four star wines in Platter.

Natural Light Photography



On the farm

The farm has run like clockwork with tending the vines and the olives, though our bee keepers have been struggling to get honey from our hives.  We have started re-painting the farmhouse and done heaps of maintenance everywhere and our son Pete built us a jungle gym and swings for the kiddies. With the completion of Black Eagle we now have a lot of solar panels and are going greener and greener each year



Water and flowers

Water – yes of concern.  We are managing for the moment but are holding our breath that our underground water supply holds.  Like everyone else in the Western Cape we use buckets and divert grey water and entreat guests to be careful. Luckily our vines are never irrigated so while our yields are smaller, given they have long well adapted roots, they keep going.
Despite the lack of water this year’s display of spring flowers was absolutely gorgeous and the birds in the garden and up the mountain an absolute treat.  Except for the heron that is, who insists on preying on our goldfish who have sunk to the bottom of their pond in defence.




Animals and protection of the Paardeberg

On the animal front we have lost our darling Carlie to kidney disease at the young age of 5, but our aged Sweet Pi is still going along tail a-wag though half blind and half deaf. We rescued and fostered little Winston who has landed in a perfect new home  and the farmyard donks, goats and sheep continue to do well.  With regard to wild animals we are losing animals on the mountain to poaching and need to tackle that next year, and we on the Paardeberg still face sand mining problems. An organisation called Protect the Paardeberg has formed to deal with this. We have also tackled alien vegetation again this year with help from Working for Water and Cape Nature Conservation.




Alchemy

So things have been a-humming here at Fynbos as always.  We feel immensely privileged to run this wonderful place and be part of the great team that has grown here. As always the farm is a kind of alchemy. A mix of design and chance which is how Johan describes winemaking. We love this concept, as after all we can’t really control anything can we?  Well just a bit maybe….


With much gratitude we wish everyone who has been part of Fynbos in whatever way,  a wonderful 2018.   






Tuesday, 2 January 2018

ALEC ROWES 80th



We recently hosted an intimate event to celebrate the 8 decades of an extraordinary man. Alec Rowe, one time nuclear engineer at MIT, designer of amongst other things, cryogenic tanks and a soundless rock drill that has transformed the lives of thousands upon thousands of  underground miners. 






But what became clear from all the speeches, is that it is not just in the area of invention and general brilliance that this man has excelled, he has brought pleasure and goodwill to the lives of very many people around him - family and friends and employees. This is a special man worthy of salute.







Comment
It was such a marvellous event . The food  and wine were delicious and the hosting gracious and the setting perfect. Thank you
Marie Rowe

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Another fantastic review for Dragonridge


Dragonridge has been fortunate to receive some excellent reviews recently by those in the know and this one was no different. Peter of Cape Wine Lovers Society visited for a tasting and once again Dragonridge was well received. To read the full article visit their blog 

The blog is well worth keeping an eye on for reviews of wines in the Western Cape





Thursday, 21 December 2017

DRAGONRIDGE GOES TO THE TOP AT SPAR WINE SHOW




With a big top theme, white tent and striped red d├ęcor, this was certainly a  circus.  A little corny ` Welcome to Winedereland’ and `Life’s a Cabernet’ but then that’s what a big circus is all about.
perhaps

Dragonridge was one of 65 exhibitors most of whom offered wine from all regions of the  western cape.  Throughout the three days there were lectures and blind tastings, people dressed up in strange costumes, photo booths and general bonhomie.


We were warned that the object of the exercise was not so much selling  wine (though we did some of that), but about networking and making contacts. People were excited about our story which is very different from that of the bigger wineries.


And they were much interested in the fact that our wines are natural, with no sulphurs to speak of and therefore hangover free.  We made quite a few valuable contacts and many people were also very interested  in Fynbos Estate – for accommodation, workshops, celebrations and for our periodic wine and food feasts.  Most gratifying though was the look on people’s faces when they tasted our wines. Aaah! they said. This is good.


There were three days of wine-tasting and we are very grateful to our helpers over the period,  Peter, Geraldene and Sven and Leena.

Would we do it again?  Well there was talk of a TOPS boutique wine show in the future and that would certainly be of more interest as we would be alongside the smaller more alternative wineries. 



Monday, 4 December 2017

Fantastic success for the Fantasmogorical Fynbos Summer Feast.

 

The combination of a cellar tasting then a feast of goodies to eat and drink shared by friendly happy people was a winner.

Just some of the comments sent to us

Thanks to all the Fynbos crew for the fine meal  and superb ambience. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  Trevor and Teresa

We have had such a lovely time. The place is so special and the food and wine fantastic 
Jeremy and Erika

Thank you. It’s always peaceful on the farm and as usual the spread was yummy. Arlene and Malcolm

It was really special to be back at Fynbos. The entire stay and lunch was wonderful, and enjoyed by all. We will no doubt be doing it again. 
Ray Steer



Sondag se ete by Fynbos was weereens n treffer. Nogmals dankie vir die vriendelike ontvangs en heerllike middag saam met julle Yolande Baumgarten

We want to thank everyone at Fynbos Estate for hosting us yesterday. From my side especially a big thank you for the special attention paid to make little Hana feel welcome. We had a lovely time and the food was out of this world. You are really blessed to be working in such a beautiful setting every day! Thys, Beanka and Elisma

Divine food and wine, a stunning place  and a relaxed friendly crowd. What more could one want.
Jean Markham