First Quarter Protégé Report – Ricardo Cloete, 3rd year


During 23-25 January 2015, I attended the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy. Here we discussed and tasted wines from all over the world and so my understanding and knowledge of international wines is much better after this course. This course lasted for three days, two days of tasting, on the third day we had to do an exam tasting. This examination has determined whether we will pass the course. On the 24th of January was my birthday and it was a pleasure and privilege to do this very special and interesting wine tastings on this day and I took the certificate and 5 great wines as my birthday gift. What a wonderful gift. I passed this intense course and therefore I qualify to judge on panels in the future, at wine competitions. The wines we tasted here and the knowledge that Michael Fridjhon have conveyed to us is immeasurable and valuable.


(Michael Fridjhon and his great line-up)

After this course, things just got more exciting because harvest 2015 came to visit us very early. The Chardonnay was ripe on Edgebaston Family Vineyards and we started to harvest from 26 January 2015. 2015 Was a very dry vintage, but has produced very good quality and we have harvested a total of 250ton. The yield was lower compared to the 2014 harvest. As fast as the harvest appeared, so early we also finished with harvest compared to previous years. Here on Edgebaston I had the privilege to work with rare varieties such as Tannat, Grenache, Mourvedre and these cultivars were impressive. Although many wineries were not ready and the grapes ripened so quickly, we were ready for harvesting at Edgebaston. All equipment and machinery were clean, shiny and ready for good quality Chardonnay to start with.


(Loading the press with some really good Chardonnay)

My harvest on Edgebaston was interesting and valuable, because David had a unique style, approach to wine and objectives. David is not only the winemaker, but also the owner, so it was not only about new techniques and styles on wine, but I also learned how to see a cellar set-up from of a business point of view. David is always willing to share his knowledge with others and to create good opportunities. I got exposure of all the areas which I was unfamiliar with.

(Sauvignon Blanc for Late Harvest) (Small berries = good quality)

On 16 April 2015, I attended a CWG tasting that was presented by Jeff Grier, where we tasted and discussed international Merlot's. It was very good wines of different styles and from different origins such as America, France and Italy.

My Pinotage that I produced in 2014 at De Grendel is going to be bottled within the next two weeks. I'm very excited to bottle my own and first wine and label it under my name. I already ordered the bottles and corks which are sponsored by Amorim Cork and Consol. The wine is very aromatic, prominent ripe red fruit being complimented with vanilla and spicy aromas and flavours.

I plan to do a harvest later in the year in America (Napa Valley), to build further on my international wine knowledge and experience. The protégés are going to attend an excellent course in May, offered by Stellenbosch University's business school. This course focuses on the development of young managers, to develop their skills and management ability. It also focuses on the development of business skills. During this course we will attend classes, submit assignments and do a presentation.