Early harvest predictions 2022

We all are awaiting for the harvest 22 to start. Just to start the year, we are already 2 weeks later than the start of 2021. Is it a good thing? Only time will tell.

What is the possible reasons for the late start? During the growing season from September 2021 until a week ago, we had relative constant rain and mild temperatures during the season. In simple terms the soil needs to heat up to activate the growth in the vine. This year it occurred at a slower pace due to the rain and mild temperatures that lead to the delay in harvest. An old saying the longer the fruit hang on the vine the better the quality. Will this be tested in 2022 harvest?

We all thought we are cruising into the 2022 harvest and then January gives us the heat and high temperatures. The sudden heat wave we are experiencing in the Western Cape at the moment, is ripening the early cultivars and speeding up the late cultivars and my prediction is that we are going to have a harvest that everything will be ripe at the same time. Winemaker’s nightmare, having enough space in the cellar.

At least we are predicting it and can start planning for it. There is also the possibility that it might not happen. One of the fun things about farming no year, no vintage is ever the same. From our side we are ready to receive the grapes and just can’t wait for the fun to start.

We will kick the harvest of by harvesting our Semillon grapes from Darling, followed by the Semillon from Franschhoek. New editions this year will be some Grenache grapes from Breedekloof that we are excited about getting into the cellar. Follow our Facebook pages, we will keep you updated on our harvest 22!

Cheers to 2022

Didn’t we all say we can’t wait for 2021 after 2020, now we are in 2022. Happy New Year to you all, may 2022 be the year we all remember for good stuff and return to normal life again.

On that note we are back in the cellar. We bottled the Bizoe Idioglossia Chardonnay 2021 and Bizoe Genant 2020. Chardonnay for the 2021 vintage are 90% grapes from Elgin Valley fermented in a Amphora pot, blended with 10% Chardonnay grapes from Stellenbosch aged in oak barrels. The wine to be available at the end of February 2022.

The second release of the Bizoe Genant SGM 2020 will have more Grenache and Mourvèdre in the 2020 blend. The Bizoe Genant 2020 will consist of  Shiraz 52% Grenache 33% and Mourvèdre 15%. Available from April 2022.

Second week of December I was joined by Bernard Dewey from Chamonix Wine Farm in Franschhoek in the Garden Route presenting wines at Viswijf Restaurant in Jeffreys Bay. What a great place and setting, food amazing, owners is amazing and passionate about food and wine. A must visit!

St Francis wine and dine with the major of the town and owner of biggest engine in St Francis, Clive of Clive’s Chokka Block Restaurant. Being around Clive is fun, old school chef and believe you can’t leave his restaurant not being fed. A must visit when in St Francis.

Last stop on our trip was Bay Leaf Café in George. Danielle owner of Bayleaf, our paths crossed first time at his restaurants in Johannesburg called Buonissimo in Modderfontein. 2021 is the first year that we ventured into the Garden Route with our wines. It is a pleasant surprise and is always looking forward spending time on the Garden Route.

When in George there will always be time to sit down and have chat with my friend Wern van der Watt, owner of Nina’s Cafe. Luckily they have celebrated their 5th birthday that week. Congrats Wern and Tash we are looking forward dining at Nina’s for the next 5 years and future!

Greyton Wine Weekend

Bizoe Wines participated in the inaugural Greyton Wine Weekend. Wineries stationed in different venues across Greyton. Wine sippers walking around the beautiful town sipping away on wine for a good cause.

Amazing seeing such a small community pulling together and delivering a fund raising event with so much passion. Greyton House Independent School raising funds to give bursaries for kids of Greyton that’s in need. Approximately 25 wineries spend the weekend in Greyton pouring wine for locals and weekend goers in Greyton. Enough money raised during the weekend to help 37 kids next year.

Bizoe Wines stationed on Werner Smith Art Gallery “stoep”. Werner’s Art Gallery is situated in Ds Botha Str. After meeting Werner at the gallery a few weeks prior to the Greyton Wine Weekend. Werner and I exchanged text messages. Little did we know that we both grew up in the same street, Nagel Str, Benoni. Lost contact when they moved to Pretoria, but reunited on a stoep in Greyton. Small world! When in Greyton make sure to pop in at Werner Smith Gallery.

Bizoe Morningstar Semillon 2019 was one the favourite during the weekend. Lovely weather helped sippers looking for some shade. At our venue was perfectly situated and we made use of the lovely couch. Once you sit, difficult to get up. Made sure their glass stay full with some cold wine.

Back to the weekend, activities around town was magnificent. Organizers made sure kids is entertained while adults stroll the streets of this beautiful town sipping on wine. On the Friday night winemakers was entertained at Hub and Spoke by the Greyton Wine Weekend organizers. Always fun sharing a glass of wine with your fellow winemakers.

 Thanks Team Greyton it was fun and looking forward to Greyton Wine Weekend 2022!

The Wern show at Nina’s Cafe George

The Wern aka Wernhard van der Watt of Nina’s Cafe, that I consider a very good friend of myself and Bizoe Wines is operating amazing restaurant in York Street, George.

My path crossed with Wern in the May 2009 the first time meeting him at The Indaba Tourism Show in Durban. Wern that stage of his life ran a Wine Agency in the Garden Route. First Bizoe introduction to the Garden Route was through the hands of Wern.

Today Wern and his wife Natasha run their own restaurant in George called Ninas. Wern has always been a passionate foodie as they call it. Through a few knocks and turns Wern has decided to join the chef school. Now he living his passion to combine food and wine in his own restaurant.

We recommend a visit to Ninas Cafe when you are in George. The service and quality of food is outstanding. A restaurant where you will feel like you eating your own food from home just better. You will most definitely meet the big man with the big beard at the door to welcome you to his and Tash restaurant. Sound advice don’t ask him out about his little daughter. You will miss curfew and won’t make it to your table. A proud man indeed.

The past weekend the Ninas Cafe Wine Festival was a huge success and all participating farms had a great time and fun. Some of the Grape Hustle Crew enjoyed the weekend with us, specially Gabrielskloof Wines and Keermont Wines. Thanks Alex and Nina for making the weekend so much fun. The chicken korma was on the menu. I will pair the dish with Bizoe Henrietta 2018. The flavours of the food and wine did complement one another perfectly!

 Looking forward visiting Ninas soon again!

Bizoe Henriëtta in the points again

Bizoe Henriëtta making us proud again. Amazing how quick the year has gone. Now it’s all about vineyards and getting the cellar ready for the 2022 harvest. We have some news in the pipeline that we will share soon.

 Just last week Wine Magazine released their annual Sauvignon blanc/Semillon report. Bizoe Henriëtta 2019 is named as one of their Top 10 wines for the year. The panel awarded the Henriëtta 2019 with 92 points. The wine will be released February 2022. Good news is that you can order, it’s currently in a mixed case with the Bizoe Hënrietta 2018 that has a 94 point rating from Decanter International Wine Awards.

Back to the vineyards again. Safely we can say the winter is gone and we into spring. Good rain during the year, giving us plenty of underground water and good conditions for the vineyards to thrive in. Currently flowering is taking place and small fruit is starting to develop in the vines. Just love seeing a vintage develop in front of your eyes.

 In the cellar we are prepping the equipment to make sure we are ready for harvest day in probably middle January 2022. Before the harvest can start, we would have our 2nd edition of the Bizoe Genant 2020. After the success of the 2019 some big shoes to fill by 2020 edition.

Our last wine to be bottled soon is also the Bizoe Idioglossia Chardonnay 2021. Chardonnay is still in the amphora and barrels. It will be taken out soon and transferred to stainless steel tank to prepare the wine for bottling. Something to be for the lookout release will be April 2022.

 Cheers from the cellar for now!

Bottling Season at Bizoe Wines

Let’s call it bottling season at Bizoe Wines. This time of the year all the winemakers are planning their bottling schedules. Getting the wine in the bottle that they have so preciously worked on during the last year, in some cases 2 years.

At Bizoe Wines we are in the same boat. In the next few weeks we will bottle our Bizoe Henrietta 2020, Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2019 and Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec 2019.

Getting the wine bottle ready is the next step. In the case of white wines ex Bizoe Henrietta that’s a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon blanc, the wine needs to be protein stable before bottling can take place. Due to the time our red wine mature in barrels this process happens natural.

 Once protein stability is achieved in the wine, we will move over to filtering. Once the wine has been filter its all about getting the wine safely in the bottles and making the last final tweaks. Bottling season at Bizoe Wines, exciting time of the year in the cellar.

And now the nerves starts to work, you as winemaker has done what you needed to do, it has to go into bottle and then it’s up to the wine drinker to get it out of the bottle. The wine you have spent in some cases two years making is there to satisfy consumers pallets.

When we open a wine, we always look on the bright side and find it difficult to critique another winemaker’s wine, because we know the time, energy and passion that went into the process to produce a beautiful bottle of wine.

Next time you open a bottle wine lift your cap to the vineyards, viticulturist, vineyard workers, cellar workers and lastly the winemaker! Salute!

Garden Route is getting hustled by The Grape Hustle

Who doesn’t like to go to the Garden Route of South Africa? Twelve winemakers joined us for a week in the Garden Route. What a trip and way to share our wines with the people of the Garden Route.

The Grape Hustle a company owned by Jo and Nick Lowe, that takes care and passion of the wine brands they represent. In my humble opinion the Garden Route is extremely lucky to have them.

Our first stop on The Grape Hustle Roadshow was St Francis Bay. Our host for the evening was St Francis Links Golf Club, amazing venue. The friendly people of St Francis joined and we created one amazing evening. After the tasting we were invited by the “Major of St Francis” Clive to sit down in his restaurant Clive’s Chock a Block. Some of the best sea food I had in a very long time. Between the 12 winemakers we made sure to enjoy one another’s wine.

Barrington’s Plettenberg Bay our next stop. Hosted by Simon and Anél in their boutique hotel at Barrington’s. The people of Plettenberg Bay rocked up and was amazing to meet so many new people. Half an hour before the ending of the wine show, Simon served each winemaker with one of their own brewed beers. Beer sailed down the throats like liquid gold. Recommend anybody to stop by Barrington’s for a cold beer. Dinner served on the long table. No need to mention that wines were enjoyed and as always food at Barrington’s was top notch.

Head over Hill Luxury Boutique Hotel in Knysna was our final stop. Property owned by Martin and Teresa Hanson. End of the evening we were invited into their private wine cellar under the property by Teresa. Tested one another knowledge on blind tasting some wine. It’s one of those moments that none of this group will ever forget.

Wines that were on show during the week included: Bizoe, Croydon, Chamonix, Eagles Nest, Eenzaamheid, Genevieve, Keermont, Luddite, Gabrielskloof, Migliarina, Meerhof and Peter Falcke.

 Thanks to all the other producer for making the week so much fun and THE GRAPE HUSTLE for looking after us!

Pretoria to Paris

Excitement is the word for one of the last trips of the year to Gauteng. Brasserie de Paris in Pretoria is doing a dinner focused on Semillon.

We all know where Semillon lies in my heart. The one passion that is difficult for me to hide. Before we get on about the dinner at Brasserie de Paris. I conducted a tasting at Mesh Club in Rosebank. Mesh Club shared office working space combined with an upmarket food and beverage section. Incredible space to meet new people and to share my wines.

Brasserie de Paris is the one evening I was looking forward to for a long time. Semillon was the name of the game for the evening. Our first course was trio of oysters paired with the Morningstar 2018 and 2019. Flavours paired with Lemongrass, Pickled Ginger and Lime. Interesting for me having conversations with the guest that there was no clear winner between the Morningstar 2018 and 2019. In my opinion the 2019 worked better with the Lemongrass and the 2018 with the Ginger and Lime. 

Robertsvleipad Semillon 2019 paired with ravioli, calamari and squid ink and citrus jus. Robertsvleipad tends to the citrus lemon lime character of fresh Semillon fruit. Paired perfect to enhance the flavours of the of wine and something for everyone to try when they dine at Brasserie de Paris.

Bizoe Henriëtta is always the star the evening, and it hasn’t disappointed on the evening. Just recently scored 94 Decanter points and it has shown us why again. Wine close to my heart and Bizoe maiden wine in 2008. Just shows why Henriëtta is the ‘ruler of the house’. Buttermilk chicken dish is most probably my pick of the evening.

What would a evening be without some red wine. Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec 2018 dished up with Warthog, mushroom and herbs pastry. As one of guest commented on the evening she didn’t know “Pumba” has so much taste. All I can say I tend to agree and the Malbec was complimenting the dish.

Bizoe Tiny Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2017 wine we make for evenings like this. Paired with a trio of Créme Brûlée.  My suggestion is to make a booking and go and try Brasserie de Paris for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. 

Thanks Senisia for a spectacular evening !

Cling Cling to Ching Ching

Sitting this morning starting to write an update on Bizoe Wines with a fresh exciting outlook of what’s to come. In the background I hear cling cling as the bottles of our new vintages Bizoe Estalet Syrah and Bizoe Henriëtta are moving through the labelling machine.

These two wines will always be the cornerstone of the Bizoe Range. Bizoe Henrietta is again a blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon blanc. 

Bizoe Henrietta 2019 assed by Samarie Smith of Married to Wine “The power of two makes Henrietta an ambassador for Bizoe – elegant, confidant and seamless. Packed with fruit and a notable intensity from Semillon, the wine etched with a bright and luminous quality brought to life by Sauvignon blanc.”

Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2018 has been in the barrel for 18 months before it was bottled on 20 January 2020. The wine is now ready to hit your pallets and to be enjoyed around the world. In the words of Samarie Smith – “ The wine entice your sense from the word go, alluring with complex layers unfolding as you go back for more. The wine grabs your attention and keeps it there with its vibrant perfume, prominent red and black fruit laced with a savoury olive brine and sweet leather character.”

Releasing new vintages is always a nerve racking time and a very rewarding time for a winemaker. My philosophy at Bizoe is to make wines that I, Rikus Neethling enjoy. I feel proud to release the Bizoe Henrietta 2019 and Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2018 in to the world of wine. 

I am sure there will be more ching ching in the future after you have tasted the new wines!

Rugby and Red Wines

Thank you to the British and Irish Lions for their tour to South Africa and giving us a reason to smile again. Nothing as “lekker” than seeing a Springbok side winning.

As we talk about rugby now it’s the Argentinians waiting. Looking forward to the next Springbok adventure, already seeing me Saturday in front of the tele with a Bizoe Idioglossia Malbec in the hand. Malbec grapes that originate from the Cahors in France. The ancient Romans called the wine made from Malbec “the black wines from Cahors”.

Now undoubtedly it’s the Argentinians that is making name with this beautiful cultivar. Rikus passion for Malbec comes from a trip to Argentina in 2004 while studying viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch. Drinking Malbec with the folks off Argentina while enjoying a “bife de lomo” – sirloin steak.

Malbec in South Africa was first planted in South Africa in the 1920’s. In South Africa it’s currently gaining popularity with the wine drinker. It could be that we had to the opportunity to travel around the world and drink Argentinian Malbec and that its fits in with our lifestyle — braai and wine.

 The “Pumas” well known for their scrum ability and mauling, we know the Springboks can match them in the grind. The same with a good Malbec, it is a well-rounded wine with flavors of spices, blackberries and dark chocolate. The same intense that the rugby will bring on the field, Malbec gives in the glass and wine is always the winner.

 As the Springboks start the Rugby Championship this weekend against Argentina we will sure be in front of the fire and television with a glass of Malbec in the hands to cheer on our boys in green and gold.

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