In Elgin, South Africa, day 1

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I’m currently in South Africa’s Elgin Valley, which I visited last October for the Chardonnay Symposium. I’m here to experience vintage with four different producers: Iona, Almenkerk, Paul Cluver and Elgin Ridge. I’ll be working as a cellar rat, and documenting the experience in pictures and film. I’m really looking forward to it.

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I’ve had a day to prepare. On Saturday night we went to the amphitheatre at Paul Cluver to see Watershed, a local acoustic/rock band play. Cluver host a series of concerts (hope@paulcluver) to raise money for local charity the Thembalitsha Foundation. It was a lovely setting and the band were pretty tight – the sell-out crowd really got into it.

Andries Burger, winemaker, Paul Cluver

Andries Burger, winemaker, Paul Cluver

Paul Cluver

Paul Cluver

Sophie and Julien Schaal, who make wine in Alsace and Elgin

Sophie and Julien Schaal, who make wine in Alsace and Elgin

Then yesterday we popped into Almenkerk for a tasting, and then headed over to lunch with the four wineries to discuss plans for the week. This finished around 6 pm, and I went back with Brian and Marion of Elgin Ridge to listen to Brian’s fabulous vinyl collection at a decent volume. This morning I’m off to Iona to begin work.

The view from Almenkerk

The view from Almenkerk

Impressive new releases from Iona: the 2016 Chardonnay and super-elegant 2015 Pinot Noir

Impressive new releases from Iona: the 2016 Chardonnay and super-elegant 2015 Pinot Noir

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir, made with Martin Prier, shows real elegance - this is the latest 2015 release

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir, made with Martin Prier, shows real elegance – this is the latest 2015 release

Almenkerk's tight, sophisticated Chardonnay

Almenkerk’s tight, sophisticated Chardonnay

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