Harvest time magic in the Swartland

If you’re passing by, you’ll feel there’s something in the air. These are no ordinary days in the Swartland.

The reason? Wineries are in the thick of the annual grape harvest, an event greeted with exuberance on farms across the Cape winelands. This is the time that many small towns and villages come alive.

For months, vines have been tended and nurtured through the vagaries of the year’s weather, heat and cold and rainfall. Now, it all comes together. Extra workers are called into the farms and tractors ferrying fruit to the wineries become a common sight. The days are long, often starting and ending in the dark.

It’s hard work, but the atmosphere is one of excitement, spurred by good humour between neighbours, friends and colleagues.

For this recounting, Swartland photographer Johan Viljoen headed out to capture the spirit of the occasion.

Smile! There’s always a moment for a snapshot in Kloovenburg’s Sauvignon blanc vineyard.
Hole in one: Chenin blanc finds the pannier every time. Mechanized harvesting at some of the larger producers.
Heat of the moment: The team at JC Wickens Wines takes a brief pause during the picking of the farm Semillon.
Destined for greatness: Sadie Family Wines’ pinotage gets a VIP escort.
Put your back in it: Harvesting by hand is hard work!
Kissie parade: Bukketraube harvest at Kalmoesfontein (AA Badenhorst Family Wines)
Take a load off: Destemming and crushing grapes at the Riebeek Valley Wine Co
Pick and choose: The sorting table is one of the ways Lammershoek ensures only the best grapes make it into the wine.
All hands on deck: André Bruyns (City on a Hill Wines) and Jorrie du Plessis (Lammershoek Winery) get their hands dirty.
Basket case: Renosterbos Winery may be small, but the work is no different when it comes to making its wines.
Time to juice things up: Free run juice from the basket press
Tuck in: Pulpit Rock’s Dewald Huisamen may have had little sleep, but he’s not giving up a boiled egg breakfast.
Droëmoer: No further caption needed
Schwiet! Wines are consistently monitored as they make their way through the wineries.
It’s a bubbly affair: Malolactic fermentation to adjust the acid levels and enhance the flavour components of the wine

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