Philani Shongwe, CWG Protege, About his first harvest as a Protege

When I started working at Paul Cluver I was very lucky to gain some experience in the art of blending. The blends that were still in progress include their top wines  which ate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both vintages were 2011.

From the barrels I had to get samples for the tasting. The wine was matured in barrels from different years and produced by different cooperages. It was quite interesting to observe what effect each barrel can introduce into the wine.

After the wine was tasted, it was firstly grouped according to sensory evaluation. Barrels that gave fruity flavours were racked together while those which gave the oak impression were also grouped together.

The origin of the grapes, vineyard, was taken into consideration. I was practically involved in the blending of the Cape Winemakers Guild Pinot Noir and Chardonnay 2011.

Through all this being done I also learnt how to handle wine from the barrels. That includes racking from barrels into the tanks, sulphur dioxide supplementation, racking again after a week and another sulphur dioxide supplementation, preparation and addition of fining agents, filtration and finally, protein stabilisation using cellulose gums and then bottling.

This year’s harvest has been observed to be the same as 2009 harvest which was late but the wines produced were of good quality. At Paul Cluver Winery we started receiving grapes, specifically, Pinot Noir on the second week of February. The picture below shows “punch down” being done in the barrels. The smoke is dry ice which is the form of carbon dioxide used to protect the must against oxidation.

At this stage all the wine is finely resting in the maturation cellar where barrels by different coopers were selected.

Years in Programme?   This is my first year Where are you at the moment? Working alongside Andries Burger at Paul Cluver Wines

Tasting the Wine

Checking the wine

Punchdown with Dry Ice