Org de Rac has, like most other Cape wine farms, hit the ground running in the new year. Although harvest is two weeks later, like much of the Cape Winelands, we have picked Pinot Noir for Cap Classique and the Roussanne. Our organic vineyards appear to be in exceptionally good health, the result of a cold, wet winter in 2020, as well as our ethos of organic farming which ensures healthy grapes from naturally farmed soils. Even here at the edge of the Swartland near the town of Piketberg where we are used to warm spring conditions, this year was mild end fresh. Up until now, we can literally count the number of hot days – 30°C and above – on one. This has caused the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, gradually picking-up sugar levels while at the same time maintaining high degrees of acidity. This latter point is just great news for any winemaker, acidity being such a vital element for capturing freshness in wines and in maintaining body and structure. But in a week or two, we will be in full swing.
New General Manager
Johan Gerber has been appointed General Manager at Org de Rac. Gerber has vast experience at wineries in South Africa, as well as in California and Australia.
“The enormous potential of Org de Rac, one of the oldest organic wineries in the Cape, attracted me to take-up this challenging post,” says Johan, who will be working alongside Org de Rac’s long-time winemaker Frank Meaker.
“Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to be exposed to the trends and demands in various international wine markets. Here the growth of organic wines is exponential and on the increase. There is no doubt in my mind that the growth in this sector is about to occur in South Africa. It is my aim to ensure Org de Rac is in the right position to emerge as one of the Cape’s leading organic wineries. The unique Swartland terroir whereon our farm is situated as well as the incredible wine quality ensures the building-blocks are there to unlock this potential to the full.”
Johan says he is also looking forward to working with Swartland Wine- & Olive Route to unleash the potential of this magnificent region. “Swartland has gained a fantastic reputation over the past few years due to the quality of the region’s wines, and the energy of the wine people,” he says. “Myself and the entire Org de Rac team are really looking forward to working with the other players to get Swartland wine, tourism, hospitality and our general uniqueness as a wine region out to the world.”
According to Jacques Hartzenberg, co-owner of Org de Rac, Gerber is the ideal person to lead Org de Rac’s operations during this time of both opportunities and challenges in the wine industry.
“The tumultuous year that was 2020 has caused everyone to press the ‘reset’ button and re-look their wine businesses with an eye of grasping the potential which is rife in the local and global wine markets,” he says. “Johan’s international and local experience at wineries of scale and his exposure to the vagaries of the wine markets world-wide made him the ideal candidate to take Org de Rac onto a new path and into a new chapter.”
La Verne Cap Classique 2019
Cap Classique wine has always been one of the reasons for stopping-off at our winery or buying Org de Rac wines. For this, we have to thank the astounding quality of our La Verne MCC made from Chardonnay grapes, a wine that has built-up an enviable record and reputation.
Towards the end of last year, we added a new wine to our MCC spectrum – a La Verne sparkling wine made in the traditional Méthode Cap Classique manner from Pinot Noir, the other royal grape of Champagne. It is a delicious, life-affirming fresh wine with a firm and energetic structure and has since its release proven to be popular in the market. (It is now available at our on-line store for R120 a bottle.)
But this MCC has a special back-story. The Pinot Noir vineyard was planted on Org de Rac on 6 September 2016, the birth-date of our founder Nico Bacon. With the view of making the first wine for his birthday in 2020. Unfortunately, Nico could not share in our honouring his role in Org de Rac, as he passed away prior to what would have been his special day last year.
But the wine is here, and it lives on, for all to enjoy.
Over the next few months, visitors to Org de Rac can expect to see some building, renovating and refurbishing. We are not letting the cat out of the bag, this only being January…but there are some major plans for the farm which is set to turn Org de Rac into one of the most exciting and unique wine tourist venues in the Swartland. Expect a revamped and relocated tasting-room…..a restaurant….and majestic gardens, making the most of our special environment.
Times might be constrained and unpredictable at the moment, but at Org de Rac we are making plans for a bright future.