First Quarter Protégé Report – Rose Kruger, 2nd year


Harvest 2015 started out quite sad and extremely exhilarating both at the same time. One thing I was really fascinated with was learning about De Grendel and its rich history. Early on in harvest we were deeply saddened with the passing of third generation Baronet, Sir David Graaff.  Exhilarating, in the sense that I got to express and do what I love for yet another year.

Twenty fifteen, excited me immensely. Not only was I to do something that was somehow familiar to me, this also meant I got to be part of and work closely alongside a great team. One of which is a female winemaker. This was really eye-opening as I got to see what my life, as a woman in the industry, can possibly be like. She to me is proof that women can do things just a good, if not better, as she always says. In most instances, being a female in a male dominated environment often means a lack of respect and to some extent, self-worth, which is sometimes the case with workers. I was deeply moved and very appreciative, to have not been treated poorly or unjust at any point in time. Whether it be before, during or after harvest. I think it is very seldom that one finds someone so passionate, reflecting not just his love for wine and the industry but also one that goes way beyond the extra mile to mentor others and watch them grow.

Most of December as well as part of my January, was spend in the vineyards. Counting bunches and doing yield estimations. Having come from a cellar where there were workers responsible for specific cellar operations, to a cellar with only two permanent workers. I remember feeling both anxious and ecstatic simultaneously. One thing I knew for certain was that I was going to be much more involved in every aspect of winemaking…and involved I am. I have done everything from operating the crusher and destemmer, inoculating, heating up and racking tanks to adding additives and doing sulphur and acid adjustments, making blends, filling barrels, washing tanks and preparing bentonite, just to name a few.

Despite being an earlier vintage with a smaller crop, the quality seems to be really promising. It is such a joy waking up daily and experiencing the evolution of the wines.