New Tasting Room Manager

Ursula Engelbrecht

Ursula Engelbrecht

We, at Vriesenhof, are delighted to introduce Ursula Engelbrecht as our new receptionist and tasting room manager. Her journey to where she is today started in the vineyards, working hard and eager to learn. Her passion and dedication was soon noticed and she went from farmhand to cellar rat during harvest.

She quickly gained insight into the operations and techniques of winemaking, giving her a unique understanding of the complete process from the vine to the finished product in the bottle. Due to her diligence and hard work she was fortunate enough to join the Exchange programme for farmworkers to Burgundy in 2006 which allowed her to broaden her knowledge of winemaking.

After her return from Burgundy she volunteered to help out during wine festivals and soon realised that her true passion lies in the interaction with people. Her ability to explain the complete process of winemaking, coupled with the fact that she had a hand in every aspect of the wine lent an exciting aspect to her story. All these factors, along with her beautiful personality, makes her an ideal person to receive people at Vriesenhof and showcase our exquisite wines.

Ursula is also a member of “Woman in Wine” – a black owned wine producing company, controlled and managed exclusively by women. She is also a trustee of the Meerlust Workers Trust, which is part of MWT Investments (Pty) Ltd t/a Compagniesdrift – a black empowerment business, specialising in wine storage, bottling and labelling.

When not working, Ursula enjoys singing, dancing and reading a good book.

Our Tasting room is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 – 16:00 and on Fridays from 10:00 – 15:30

Spring in the Vineyards

                     VRIESENHOF PINOT NOIR 2010 & 2013 MAGNUMS

                     VRIESENHOF PINOT NOIR 2010 & 2013 MAGNUMS

It is hard to believe that we are in the first week of October; the cold mornings are more reminiscent of autumn than spring. Not that we are complaining, the mild weather is very conducive to growth, allowing the vines to grow rapidly without any stress. The only negative about this time of year is the fact that we are well outside of our raining season. For we need rain, lots of rain. This winter has left us feeling a bit disappointed from a certain perspective, we have had very little rain and even less snow, which is something we greatly desire.

I digress, the cold, dry winter has given us a nearly perfect start to the growing season with very even bud-break. Most of the vineyards are heading for their second round of treatment, protection against powdery mildew as the morning fog and pleasant afternoons are perfect conditions for some unwanted pests. Our teams are slowly starting the first round of suckering, clearing the new growth from the stems and unwanted positions on the arms of the vines. 

This as most of you know will happen periodically for the next few months to make sure that the growing vine exerts energy in the right areas, not with unwanted vegetative growth. The Chardonnay and pinot noir inflorescence have already developed and it looks like we could be expecting a rather large crop this season, weather permitting. Prof. Archer has also gone out on a bit of a limb and with tongue in cheek stated that we might be harvesting seven days later this than this year. Seeing as harvest was in full swing by the end of the first week of January, this was not seen as a great foretelling.

                                   Chardonnay Inflourescence

                                   Chardonnay Inflourescence

The other highlight of October was the annual Cape Winemakers Guild auction that was held on the 4th of October 2015. The creams of the proverbial crop of South African winemakers were showcasing what they saw as their best wines to the world. A surprise twist of this auction was the high number of private buyers that was present, allowing for amazing rather flamboyant bidding running rampant during the first half of the auction. Jan Boland had two vintage of the Pinot noir on auction, the 2010 and the 2013. He was pleased with the fact that the wines were bought by both the buyers from Tsogo Sun and the One&Only hotel groups.  

As for the cellar staff, well they are slowly getting the cellar into shape for the new harvest. Some new vintages have been bottled, most notably the Vriesenhof Grenache 2014, Vriesenhof Pinot noir 2014 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 2012 and 2011 which will be the next vintage made available to the public.