Rikus Neethling

Rain, Sunshine, Wine and Fun

Looking back at the past month, this is how I can describe the past 30 days. Returning from London, I made a stop in Johannesburg, Carltonville, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), St Francis, Windhoek and Greyton. 

Although we spend some time on the road, work in the cellar is continuing, some winemakers will describe this part of the year as bottling season. Bottling is going at full speed now, and we will be releasing some exciting new wines in the next few months, one to be on the lookout for the release is a new Rikus Neethling Cabernet franc 2022. This is the first production of Cabernet franc, only 1200 bottles produced. 

Lots of talk about the wet season, we expect the weather to start turning soon. We will be in the vineyards start pruning to create next years harvest. The vine is dormant at this stage, the moment the soils start heating up, pruning will start. Exciting to start a new cycle and seeing the vines budding and coming back to life after a good winter sleep.

Bizoe Estalet Syrah 2019 our wine focus for this post. Grapes are sourced from “De Liefde” farm in the Breedekloof region. Planted on the most interesting soils, not always the best but interesting. This wine is true reflection of the terroir these vines is planted. 

I will be on the road also for the next few months. Bizoe will be pouring wines at Johannesburg Country Club Winter Wine Festival on the 12th of August that we are looking forward to. September we will in Durban for a couple of events, and the end of September in Nelspruit for the Un-wined Wine Festival.

Yes, it was crazy, but it was fun, met so many new people, great laughs and this all around a glass of Bizoe Wines.

Turning seasons       

Just a few weeks ago when looking over the vineyards you saw this beautiful colour blankets over vineyards. With all the leaves falling to ground give you this sad feeling of winter is here

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My Mom

Thinking back to September 2008 at Pinnacle Point Golf Estate, when I informed my mom the first wine under Bizoe label will be named after her. This week we are releasing 13th vintage of the Bizoe Henrietta!

Just like that, 13 vintages has flown by. Bizoe Henrietta 2020 is slightly different in blend components than most of the previous ones. Normally I have a 70/30 split in my mind between Semillon and Sauvignon blanc. The 2020 will be a 80/20 split dominated by Semillon. I believe it’s one our best yet!

The story has been told before but just remind some of you why the name Henrietta is on this special bottle. Bizoe Henrietta was the first wine I have released into the South Africa and the World in 2008. The same Bizoe Henrietta 2008 that received a Gold Medal from International Wine Challenge in 2009. With big dreams and no money to start a business, I got a loan from my dad. Dad, a dentist in Benoni, with no wine background then, surely someone had to persuade him to help me. I am sure today Henrietta played a massive role in persuading the old man to help.

In writing the back label for the wine, I found out what Henrietta means. Translated back to German it translates to ‘ruler of the house.’ There couldn’t be a more fitting name for mom (sorry pa). The mother that everyone’s dream off, the lucky ones that has her as a grandma and of course Estalet that has her as a “mother-in-law”. It’s an honor for me to release the Bizoe Henrietta 2020 in the world!

Let’s all lift a glass to Henrietta Neethling, and thanks for what mom has done for me!

Player 23 – Elton and Jan

Do you remember the Vodacom advertisement of Player 23? For those who forget click on this You Tube Link to listen to it again. With the Springboks winning the series against Wales we discovered this song again.

This is why this blog post is an appreciation piece about our Elton and Jan at Bizoe Wines. Elton and Jan is the soul of our “span” –  Jannie Alexander is my right hand in the cellar and managing all of the wine making process. Having Jannie around gives me the freedom to travel South Africa and the world, selling our wines.  Elton Minnies is my left hand when it gets to distribution, stock management and sales activities. Without Elton and Jannie all the success we had over the past years wouldn’t have been possible and they are the soul of the “span”. Thank you Jannie and Elton!

Winter work in the vineyards has started. Amazing feeling knowing that actually the start of the 2023 vintage wines is here. Growing vines is the most important part of making wines and quality is determine by the work that’s getting done now. We are looking forward seeing what 2022/23 growing season will give us. We are for sure not short of water at the moment after the good rains we had in the Western Cape.

In the cellar we have just labelled up our Bizoe Henrietta 2020 that will be available from 1 August. The norm on the Bizoe Henrietta is a 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon blanc split in the blend. The 2020 has an 80/20 split of Semillon been the dominant cultivar. Interesting is that some of the Semillon was fermented and matured in our amphora claypot. This definitely gives a new element to the wine that I am excited about.

Keep warm and enjoy some Bizoe Wines in front and around the fire! 

Winter Wine

Our Bizoe Genant SGM 2020 new release has been awarded 90 points already by Wine Magazine during the Prescient Signature Red Blend review by Christian Eedes. Good news the wine is available for the public.

I also had the opportunity to be in Windhoek the past weekend with the crew of Tamassa Namibia at the Windhoek Wine Show. 3 Day event that saw over 2500 people tasting wine at Windhoek Country Club. Thanks to the sponsors MTC Namibia and Tamassa for putting up in an incredible event. 

In the cellar I have tasted through all the new vintage wines and made adjustments on the sulphur levels were needed. All wines has find their place and given the opportunity to mature. Our first Rikus Neethling Sauvignon blanc 2022 has also been bottled and will be ready for you soon. 

This coming weekend we will be showing our wines at the Wildwood Wine Festival in Groblersdal, Limpopo. Our friends/agents Frits Brune from The Wine Pointer will be there to offer you some Bizoe

I will be travelling to Durban at the end of the month. Looking forward do tastings around Durban and specially looking forward to our wine evening at Wineology in Salt Rock. It will be my first tasting in KwaZulu-Natal. Can’t wait to get feedback on our wines from the people of Natal.

Keep warm, keep safe and drink some Bizoe Wines!

South Africa we love sharing our Wines

Whirlwind travels continue showing our wines around our beautiful country. Currently typing this blog post I am sitting 35 000 feet above air on flight BA6412 to Johannesburg to present a wine evening in Pretoria at Pachas Restaurant.

In the cellar most of our red wines is finishing or has finished malolactic fermentation and is tucked away in the barrel cellar for maturation now. Perks of my job is to taste them from time to time and follow their development over time. 

We are planning our bottling of the Rikus Neethling Sauvignon blanc 2022 in the next few days also. Sauvignon blanc from our Elgin grapes blended with 10% Sauvignon blanc from Stellenbosch is sure to be a little block buster. In the near future we will also bringing out our first Grenache Rose from Breedekloof under the Rikus Neethling Wines labels. You being part of our journey will definitely be the first to know about this exciting release.

The past month was a real whirlwind, trips to Durban to attend the Buxton’s Wine Festival – thanks to Buxtons for some great orders and excited seeing the wines being available in KwaZulu Natal. Week spend in the Garden Route with Jo and Nick Lowe from The Grape Hustle is always a highlight and a hustle. Wine events held at Ile de Pain, Knysna, it was a fun evening with a new concept. Serving bite size courses and getting the audience to choose a Bizoe Wine to complete the pairing was interesting. Interesting choice was made and the people loved it and we loved Ile de Pains food also.

Barringtons Plettenberg Bay “Wine Wednesdays” is a weekly highlight in the lives of the Plettenberg Bay community. New wines, new estates and new faces each week at Barringtons make sure to schedule it into your plans when in Pletternberg Bay.

Nina’s Cafe in George, my good friend Wernhard van der Watt. Probably the restaurant I have mentioned most often in my blogs – there is a good reason for it, I won’t elaborate again, it’s time to experience it for yourself. Tell me if I am wrong but I am sure you won’t be disappointed. 

Like mentioned above on route to Pretoria and Harare Zimbabwe over the weekend for the Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe Wine Festival with the folks of Tamassa Trading – Looking forward crossing our borders again and giving you feedback soon.

Bizoe Genant

On Monday 29th of March we completed harvest 2021 with our Bizoe Idioglossia Chardonnay grapes arriving from Elgin approx. 2 weeks after we completed Stellenbosch grapes. This just shows again the role nature and region play in the world of wine.

The day has arrived that I have trying to keep quiet for the past 4 months, the release of our maiden vintage Bizoe Genant. Rikus and Estalét youngest son Rikus Jnr is the only member in the household that was short of wine named after him. Those days are gone, as the Genant was made in honour of Rikus Jnr.

The meaning of Genant in Afrikaans is “having the same name as somebody else.” Would be used in context “dit is my genant”

More about the wine, Shiraz and Mourvèdre grapes are sourced from old bush vines planted in Darling wine region. Grenache is coming from a warmer climate of Wellington. Although warm climate the vineyards is tucked away in the corner of the Bains Kloof and Groenberg Mountain Range.

In the cellar grapes were processed separately in open fermenting tank. Before fermentation started we used a process of cold maceration to extract delicate flavors out of the skin of the grapes followed by natural fermentation. The wines were tucked away in 500L barrels for approx. 18 months before bottled on 11 December 2020. It was difficult to keep this secret of a new wine that I have been working on for over the last 2 years.

Ending of for me as a father of Rikus Jnr, there is nothing giving me more joy to see how this little boy develop in life and how this bottle of Bizoe Genant 2019 will develop and already looking forward to his 18th birthday to enjoy a glass of Genant with my Genant.

2 February 1659 – 2 February 2021

2 February 1659 – 2 February 2021

It feels like quite a significant date in 2021. 2 February 1659 was the first grapes picked by Jan van Riebeeck to produce South Africa first wines. 2 February 2021 our first grapes arrived for the 2021 harvest and also the first day of the year we can sell our wines locally. Is it coincidence or is there a message?

Rikus and Elton in the cellar before harvest

Rikus Neethling and Elton Minnies

Not that I believe in conspiracy stories it was just one of those facts that I picked up when I was over joyed to be able to share our wines again with the South African public. We as a wine industry also needs to lift our caps to our export body Wines of South Africa for the amazing work they did by promoting brand SA across the world. Although 2020 was a tough year our exports as a country grew. In the last few months we have exported to our partners in Singapore, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Finland.

With the reopening of the South African trade there was a flurry of deliveries going out last week. New orders from retail stores, restaurants is giving us hope that the industry can recover. 

Harvest started in a hurry on the 2nd of Feb with Sauvignon blanc from Croydon Vineyards. Early signs that we are going to have great quality wines from the 2021 harvest. The balance between concentration sugar, natural acidity, taste of the grapes is looking promising and looking forward to drinking some of the wine later in the year in the case of whites and rosé. 

Thanks for the support during these times, keep on drinking South African Wines and supporting this beautiful industry. We will keep the Proudly South African Flag flying in the winery.

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