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from vineyard and cellar

November 2020 - flowering time

begin of flowering

A decent rain on October 6th brought the vineyard back to action. And with the second week of October, flowering began, which was very even and completed within two weeks.
The now warm summer temperatures together with the rain had a positive effect on development, and the canopy catches up fast and vigorous - more work for us of course, but overall a great season so far!
October 2020 - a cool spring

Bein Merlot on October 15, 2020Bein  Merlot on October 15, 2020

This October was characterized by cool temperatures and little rainfall. The growth of the vines is accordingly slow, and flowering is delayed by well two weeks compared to the previous year. So we can keep up easily with the work in the vineyard and the canopy looks very even.

September 2020 - miserably rainy and cold

A terribly cold and rainy September delayed budding by about 2 weeks compared to the long-term average. In return, it is very even, which is important for an even ripening later. Also good news is that the area's water reservoirs are now practically full - for the first time since 2014! We look forward to the coming season with confidence.

August 2020 - the new normal!

It looks like the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa has been falling since early August. So our government showed mercy and changed the lockdown to "Level 2": This means we can trade wine again - Hallelujah! We can also move more freely, but international travel is still not allowed. So unfortunately you cannot visit us in person, but anyone who still wants to look around in Bein Wine Cellar can do so via YouTube - click here for some video clips :-)

At last, the Cape winter has arrived, with colds of even down to 3° C, good for the vineyard as compensation for the relatively warm period from April till June. But at least, there was enough rain! The region's water reservoirs are now on average a good 69% full, with the main reservoir, Theewaterskloof Dam, being 85% full, more than it has been for years.

July 2020 - a further fallback

Unfortunately, our government's corona policy is rather erratic. Any proper forward planning is impossible. On the 12th of July, all alcohol sales were suddenly banned again. Of course, also travelling is restricted and therefore personal cellar tours are unfortunately not possible. But instead, we invite you to come with us on this virtual barrel cellar tour via YouTube (see below :-)

Good news is that this winter finally brought back the usual winter rains, with around 100 mm in July, so that the water dams around the Western Cape are slowly but surely filling up. The temperatures, however, were definitely warmer than usual (min 11 - max. 27 ° C)

June 2020 - the new normal has started

Fortunately, lock down has been further relaxed by 1st of June. The insight, that a hard lock down to contain Covid-19 doesn't really work in South Africa, seems to have prevailed. Gatherings are still forbidden, but as long as you wear a mask and practice social distancing, you can move around to do your business, although only during daytime, but at least. Most businesses have opened again, and even wine can be sold - uff!
Only the virus couldn't be bothered less. Its development is now exponential, the peak is yet to come and there will be many sad things to happen before the curve flattens out - exspect another few months of this "new normal"!.

But we have good news on the wine front: We just released the new Pink Merlot 2020 and the Merlot Reserve 2018, which are now available from the farm and soon in our export destinations!

May 2020 - a boer maak a plan

Corona lockdown continues throughout May. Although it has been eased somewhat, there is still a strict curfew and the sale of all "non-essential" consumer goods is banned, such as Flip-flops (!?), cigarettes and alcohol. At least we have recently been allowed to export again. Since employees have to stay mostly at home, we roll up our sleeves and do everything ourselves - virtual tastings, racking, bottling and labeling. The videos show how this works with us ;-)

April 2020 - CORONA BLUES

As everywhere else, Corona has turned our world upside down. South Africa is under a complete lockdown since March 26, provisionally until begin of May. Everything is closed except grocery stores. Curiously, all cigarette and alcohol trade is also banned, which even extends to exports. The whole wine industry is paralyzed; we don't even get bottles, which we urgently need to bottle our rosé.

But it is really bad for the poor people here. Many are already living from hand to mouth anyway, but now that all the work is down there is nothing for them to earn and therefore nothing to eat! Of course, relief supplies like food parcels and other support were officially promised, but the authorities are completely overwhelmed. Let's hope that at least they use the time to beef up the medical infrastructure accordingly before the big corona wave is flooding us all.

March 2020 - Main harvest

A perfect autumn 2020 in the Cape Winelands produced an evenly ripe and particularly healthy crop on our farm, and we finally harvested the Merlot grapes for our red wine on March 5th under ideal conditions. Quantity was a bit down in comparison to long-term numbers, but quality was great and the young wines are really promising, with great concentration, intense colour and luscious aromas. The video will tell you more: While the young wines are fermenting, we usually rack and bottle the previous vintage. Since the 2019 crop was small and no batch did particularly stand out, we decided to produce only Little Merlot this time - but don't worry, just little in name not in quality! Of this, 5775 bottles have been bottled on 19 March 2020.

February 2020

The year has so far been rather unusual, with moderate temperatures -  except for a few 35-degree C days - plus unusually high winds in January. Rain is still in short supply, but the regional water dams have enough reserves so that we could irrigate appropriately. And the vineyard seems to like it, looking healthy and strong.
As always, the rosé harvest marks the beginning of our harvest season, this time on 12th of February, slightly earlier than other years. Quality and quantity is significantly better than last year, and we are optimistic about the main harvest. It looks like this will now be around 5th - 10th of March. 

2020 is a jubilee year:  20 Years Bein Merlot!


20 years ago, we bottled our first Merlot. Admittedly, it was not a masterpiece, but it was the beginning of our new career. A lot has happened since, and there are many good memories. A musician friend and regular visitor even composed a little ballad about it. We have completed it with images and created a jubilee music video.
Just click on the link above to watch it.
(Music: Thorsten Eden www.diepullies.de)

November/December 2019 - early summer

The early summer of this vintage is characterized by nice weather and moderate temperatures, perfect for us and the vines. However, we saw no rain for weeks and were already afraid that the drought in recent years would repeat itself. But at the end of October, a decent cold front brought some good 80mm of rain, enough water for flowering and the subsequent important growth phase. After all, the vineyard developed a strong canopy and a good, balanced fruit load.
In line with the early budding, Veraison started earlier, and the first red berries appeared just before the New Year. Accordingly, we expect harvest to be around 10 days earlier than our long-term average.

September/October 2019 - Spring

After a dry August, our vineyard started with a "half empty tank" into the new season. Luckily, a good rain on September 11 brought about 25mm of precipitation, and budding started evenly, though somewhat earlier than usual. Now, the busy time begins with all the suckering and intense canopy management.

August 2019

Weather in August was mostly sunny and again, comparatively dry. So WATER remains the topic No. 1 for the farmers in the Western Cape, even if the dams of the area are now 66% full - after all, 6% more than the previous year.

June - July 2019

We had to be patient, but eventually the winter rains arrived. Although not as much as it used to be 5-10 years ago, but at least the dams of the area are already 60% full by the end of July. In-between bright-sunny winter days, ideal for vineyard work: It is time for pruning.

Reports of previous vintages can be viewed here: Vintage reports