Fruits of the Harvest
We began the harvest on Friday, the 31st of January.  After daily meanderings, musings and tastings in the Chardonnay vineyards, our winemaker Cornè and I agreed that these beautiful grapes had reached the perfection of taste that is phenolic ripeness.  Family, friends and employees sprang into action, and by mid-morning the first grape juice of the new year was pressed, sampled and declared to be the ‘best ever!”.  By now, the harvesting of all the white grapes is over, and we are going into the peak time for the red varieties.  One of the great benefits of organic farming is that the grapes reach phenolic ripeness at an earlier stage, and you are able to avoid green tannins on the one hand, and ‘jammy’ over ripeness on the other.  At Avondale, we always strive for those incredible balanced, fresh grape-driven flavours!

All the Action in the Cellar
For a lot of the time during the year, the cellar is a quiet and cool place, however in these few months it transforms into a true hive of activity.  As the grapes are being delivered from the vineyards, we have also been busy at the other end of the production process, bottling and laying down the 2013 vintages of our beautiful white blends, Anima and Cyclus.  We have also launched an innovative cellar project, the making of some of our wines in amphorae.  A local potter has crafted a few 600-litre amphorae for us, using some of the actual clay from Avondale farm.  These resemble the original winemaking and storage vessels that were used by the Ancient Greeks.  Like a wooden barrel, an amphora is breathable enabling micro-oxygenation and natural tannin development.  Unlike, wood, the clay of the amphora inspires a supple minerality and fine tannin structure in the wines.  These lovely vessels are an exciting new tool in our slow winemaking toolbox, and we are looking forward to the Syrah and Semillion wines that are slowly forming in their cool, clay confines