A Cape Wine Master-class
Education Experience 4.5 Wine Courses

A Cape Wine Master-class

Friday 17 March 2017

Experience: 4.5/5

Day 2 of the Cape Wine Academy Certificate Course promised to be slightly gentler on the grigio matter. The route to Morgenhof Wine Estate, North of Stellenbosch, was known. It was a Friday (with less traffic) and the first lecture started half an hour later than registration for Day 1. Nonetheless, getting up today was quite a struggle.

There were only two lectures today too. The Main Course, so to speak, was served up by another Cape Wine Master called Raymond Noppe. He was younger than Dave and I was humbled to see a Cape Wine Master looking so young. As with much in life, I wish I had started earlier ….

The topic for learning this morning was viniculture, or wine-making, and so everything that happens to the grapes after they have been picked. There is certainly an art and a science to wine-making and none more so than during harvesting and afterwards in the cellar. Chemical kits and computer analysis have a role to play for the modern wine-maker but I sense the old taste and a sniff are just as important.

It was time to learn another language – as befits any technical subject – of degrees balling, M.O.G (materials other than grapes), ‘must’ and ‘mash’ (not of the potato variety), ‘lees’, ‘maceration’ and a ‘cold soak’ (not during an Eskom power cut), MLF and sparging. Raymond showed us many flow charts, many quite literally so, on the screen in front of the class. He told us too about sealing bottles, cork types, and wine faults. I was particularly interested to find out more about how to read a wine analysis sheet. It now makes a lot more sense and I shall take a new interest in knowing how to read wine labels.

Throughout, Raymond impressed by his knowledge. Can I ever learn so much? I have to if I seek to become a Cape Wine Master. Oh, and we did some tutored tasting too. I can never have enough instruction on how to taste wine. Each lecturer has their own approach and this is also useful.

Coffee followed the Main Course. Afterwards, we returned to the classroom for ‘after dinner drinks’ with Danie Pretorius from the South African Brandy Association. Danie was just what I needed for the last lecture of the day before lunchtime. He was funny and informative. If I had a poor or erroneous perception about brandy before his talk then I certainly did not after, though what’s wrong with an ‘old man’s’ drink?!

I never knew that South Africa has the strictest brandy production regulations in the world or that, from the number of winners in the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition, our brandy is some of the best in the world. I didn’t know too the differences between potstill and vintage and blended brandies. The 2 hours passed quickly and as it should have done for a Friday. We tasted samples of each brandy type too, in moderation of course, and without the rigour of analysis and scoring.

I enjoyed Day 2 of the Course more than the first day. There was much to learn but the day flowed better and was shorter. I didn’t even take as many photos either. I must have been tired as I cannot remember what I did on Friday evening afterwards …

Wines tasted: (to follow)




KWV Twelve Barrel Select
Richelieu 10 Year Vintage Brandy

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