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Delheim Newsletter - March 2016
Delheim Newsletter - March 2016
Newsletter - 1st quarter
March 2016
Please enjoy reading about the latest happenings at Delheim - in this issue we share the following with you:
  • Aftermath of the Simonsberg fire
  • Harvest progress with new winemaker Altus Treurnicht
  • Bottled wine competitions are not the only competitions we get awards for!
  • Details about upcoming events
  • Recent sales and marketing trips
  • Great press coverage in the Stellenbosch Visio Magazine
  • Our brand new e-commerce facility - now it is so easy to buy your favourite Delheim wines!
The Simonsberg Fire
The new year greeted us with a fiery anger as a devestating fire broke out on our beloved Simonsberg mountain on Tuesday 19 January. The fire raged for 4 days before it was brought under control.
The biggest loss was the commercial pine forest that we farm. Approximately 80% of the forest was burnt and since it has not reached its mature age the loss is tragic and tremendous. The value in lost timber and capital investment of the past 16 years is close to R10 000 000. The risk of fires now has become too high to be able to plant trees again. The forest will therefore be closed down. This will be a loss of income to the current teams working there. Fortunately no property was damaged. 
The vineyards had very little direct fire/ heat damage. We burned the areas along some of the threatened vineyards before the main fire reached them, which allowed us to have a controlled fire with little heat damage to vineyards.
We would also like to make use of this opportunity to once again thank all the volunteers and staff members who bravely helped to fight the fire, as well as all the many people who donated food and drinks - it was truly heart-warming to see how the Stellenbosch community responded to our pleas for help. 
2016 Harvest
It is winemaker Altus Treurnicht's 1st season at Delheim, and we checked up on the harvest progress with him during this Q & A session:
Q: After the recent Simonsberg fires, there's been a lot of talk about smoke taint in this year's wines - how are you handling this threat in the cellar?
A: The problem with the smoke is that it gets absorbed by the phenolic compounds in the skins of the berries. Therefore we were very intent on minimising skin contact. This meant very delicate whole-bunch pressing of all our white grapes (no crushing and de-stemming), resulting in lower juice recoveries. Temperatures had to be monitored strictly - the cooler the better, for higher temperatures result in higher extractions from the skins. Free run juice and press juice were always kept seperately. A full assesment will be done after fermentation to establish the extent of the impact, but we are confident that the preventative measures we took would have done the trick. The reds weren't affected at all due to their location on our sister property, Vera Cruz, which wasn't influenced by the smoke from the fire.
Q: What has surprised you the most about Delheim?
A: There is a culture of exploring different avenues during the winemaking process, by looking at things from an alternative perspective, an opportunity to express some artistic flair. This is really exciting for me!
Q: Which varieties are you excited about the most? Have you worked with this variety before?
A: There is a block of Chardonnay on the Vera Cruz property known as "Akkerboom", which I feel has wonderful flavour intensity. At Meerlust it was one of my main varieties I worked with, so I'm very excited to continue making great Chardonnays from these vineyards. I also loved the Chenin Blanc from the Delheim property, and as I haven't worked much with this variety before, I can't wait to see the results. The quality of Shiraz from the Vera Cruz farm, especially the "Skooltjie" bushvines, has opened my eyes with respect to the potential of this variety. I also learned a lot about Pinotage, and how to manage its short fermentation periods - it was quite scary to see how it literally runs away from you!
Q: What were your overall impressions of the quality, crop size and flavour intensity of this year's harvest?
A: Due to the lower recoveries on the white grapes, volumes will obviously be slighlty less than last year, but no such issues on the reds. The initial dry conditions did hasten the ripening, with some irregular patterns showing in some vineyards. While it is still too early to make a final judgement, I'm positive that the overall quality will be good, with great extraction and flavour intensity on most of the wines.
Vinpro / Winetech Vineyard Block Competition
Our farm manager Altus van Lill (pictured far left) accepting the 3rd place award for best Pinotage Block in the Stellenbosch region. The theme for this year was premium Pinotage vineyards older than 5 years. This competition is held annually in the different regions in order to identify, promote and celebrate best practices for wine grape viticulture. 
Congratulations to Altus, and also our viticulturist Etienne Terblanche and the rest of the team, for ensuring we produce some of the most respected wines with premium quality grapes! 
ABSA Cape Epic
We are excited to announce that Delheim is one of the official spectator points during this year's ABSA Cape Epic Cycle Tour. On Saturday 19 March 2016, the riders will pass through our scenic property as part of the 74km long stage 6. We invite you to join us for what promises to be an exhilirating experience as the riders grit it out in the toughest mountain bike race on the planet! 
When - Saturday 19 March 2016
Where - Delheim Picnic Area
First riders expected - 08h20
Last riders expected - 11h30
Plenty of good wine and food stalls will be available to keep you nourished thoughout the day! Visitors are also welcome to enjoy lunch at our restaurant, and why not end the afternoon with a scrumptious wine-and-cupcake-pairing! (bookings essentails -
Annual Mushroom Foraging Event
Delheim offers avid mushroom foragers two exceptional weekends of wild mushroom hunts in its private forest, for enthusiasts to unearth theses elusive, seasonal delicacies and revel in fungi spotting excitement. These foraging excursions are led by Delheim’s Nora Sperling-Thiel and Gary Goldman, a seasoned field expert and mushroom cultivator, and will see intimate groups setting foot for a magical ‘walk on the wild side’, in search of these delicious gems, lurking right there under one’s nose.
After an exhilarating morning, engaging in ‘the silent hunt’ amidst towering pine trees and indigenous flora, foragers will be rewarded with a mushroom-inspired three-course lunch which promises to leave the taste buds euphoric.
Please note: Although these events take place at the time of year when there is the largest chance of finding wild mushrooms and the ‘moon is right’, Delheim cannot guarantee that you will find any on the day.
Date: 16 & 17 June 2016 ; 01 & 02 July 2016
Cost: R650pp
Limited to 40 tickets per day / no group bookings allowed due to the intimate nature of this event
Tickets available via  Computicket
Overseas Visits
In January our sales team visited some of our European importers. Reg (GM) and Raymond (Sales Manager) first attended to our Irish importer, O'Brien's, where they did some store visits and presented a tasting to the entire management and buying team of the group. Then they joined Nora (Director) in Bremen, Germany, to work with our importer Eggers Sohn. After 2 days in Germany it was off to the Netherlands, where they attended a trade show hosted by our Dutch importer, Poot Agenturen. All the wines were very well received and we are excited at the prospects of growing our footprint in these markets.
Stellenbosch Visio Magazine
In the autumn issue of the well-renowned
Stellenbosch Visio magazine (a lifestyle hub serving residents, visitors, as well as its working population with insider’s news, events and features on this special place), you will find a beautiful article on Delheim written by wine journalist Emille Joubert. p54 - p57 is dedicated to the legend that is Spatz Sperling, and is written in an unusual and informal "open letter style". If you can't get your hands on a copy of the magazine, visit our website for a pdf version of the article by clicking here.
Buy Our Wine
When we launched our new website in December last year, we incorporated a full e-commerce facility into it, allowing our customers in other parts of South Africa to also freely obtain our wines, with the click of a button! The orders  we've received thus far confirms our believe that more and more customers will start using this platform as a cost effective and efficient medium of buying wine. Our yearly price increases become effective on 1st of March, but we've decided to keep the prices on our e-shop the same until end of March! 
To make use of this extended deadline, click here (available for deliveries in South Africa only)
With Easter arriving a bit earlier this year, we wish you safe travels if you are going away on holiday. As always, any comments and feedback are welcome, and thank you for your valued support.
The Sperling family and the Delheim team
T: +27 (0) 21 888 4600 E:
Knorhoek Rd - R44 | PO Box 210, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 7599

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Knorhoek Road R44
Stellenbosch, Western Cape | 7600 ZA
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