Bottling James Viognier 2009

On May 2, 2009, CCQC and I exhausted ourselves picking some 700kg of Viognier grapes. We worked from about 8am to about 6pm without stopping. Viognier is the naughty, rebellious teenager of grapes. The vines grow all over the place. The bunches sometimes grow upwards, through the canes. Then when the wine was being made, it would not behave itself. It fermented wildly. Then it stopped fermenting. It made me cry. It over-sulphured itself. The tests came back saying it was toxic. It behaved like your worst juvenile delinquent teenage nightmare who should be sent to borstal or worse. But then Simon Groves came on the scene and helped us calm this rebellious wine into submission and today we bottled our 2009 Viognier. And like many a wild child, she has developed into a beautiful, classy, elegant, clean drink. We are very proud of her.

Simon brought his little bottling machine, which can do four bottles at a time. He also had a helper, Valerie from Germany, who’s a Woofer (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) who really is a willing and good worker, unlike some, who are more like Blufhers (bludging free food and hospitality). CCQC, being the muscle man, corked, carried and stacked the 595 bottles into the specially made crate we’ve had made, in the corner of the winery. Perhaps, we’re thinking, we shall have this vintage labelled, and release it commercially. Simon and Valerie bottled and corked, also, and moi, as usual, was chief bottle washer (literally) and on the other side of the camera.

Then when we’d finished, in the best winery tradition, joined by Bella, Simon’s nine-month-old baby, we had a lovely lunch and drank two bottles. They were superb, and not just because we had grown, picked, and made the wine.

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