Grande Provence Harvest Day

February 21st, 2011 by karen

I have tasted Grande Provence ( wines on several occasions in the past with their Chardonnay holding a very clear ranking in my top Chardy’s list.  I had, however, never been to this heritage wine estate in Franschhoek, thus it was most opportune to be able to take a very good school friend and her hubby, visiting from Grand Cayman in the Caribbean,  to attend their harvest festival in February

On arrival we were treated to delicious carrot muffins with fabulous brewed coffee and tea before heading into the vineyards for the backbreaking mornings work…………….  which lasted a whole 25 minutes:)

Tea & muffins in beautiful courtyard

Trailer ride into vineyards for grape picking

After picking some beautiful looking grapes we lapped up the views and a glass of their Lifestyle Range, Angels Tears Sauvignon Blanc which was crisp, dry and beautifully refreshing, even at 10am:)

Grape picking in action

Angels Tears enjoyed in the vineyards

We were then taken to the very active cellar with grapes being placed in the press as we arrived.  Here Jaco Marais, the winemaker, gave us a 5 minute walk through the cellar and we had an opportunity to taste some sweet n’ juicy Merlot must.  After a walk through their barrel room we “retired” to the shady garden amongst scattered tables and blankets to enjoy the rest of the day

Merlot must - a must:)

Grande Provence impressive barrel room

We went into the elegant and cool tasting room, where we were very ably assisted through a tasting of the Grande Provence range of wines.  Our palates were delighted with the Viognier/Chenin blend and The Grande Provence, several of which became gifts for my friends to take home with them (unfortunately the Chardonnay was sold out and not available for tasting – told you it was a goodie)

The day ended with some live music and a Gourmet Braai washed down with Angels Tears

Although we made some great memories and had an enjoyable day, some areas I believe possible improvements can be made going forward are:

  • The group was not an excessively large one and I think linking us all together more would have made for more fun and cohesion through the picking and cellar tour.  Since we were divided into 4 groups the winemaker and marketing people assisting us through the cellar and barrel room offered very short explanations and tours before the next group arrived
  • I believe we did not pick enough grapes which is an embarrassment indeed on the participants side, and thus possibly out of the control of the farm, but we had to wait a long period of time before the grape stomping happened and I think it needs to be more closely linked to the harvest process
  • I realise this was a marketing day to promote Angels Tears but I believe it would have been very beneficial for them to offer the main Grande Provence range of wines for us to purchase to enjoy on the lawns and with lunch
  • The idea to send a bottle of Angels Tears home with each participant as a gift was super extension of the branding but, all four of us in our group was given a bottle of the Semi Sweet made from a 50/50 blend of Muscat d’Alexandrie (Hanepoot) and Chenin Blanc.  With a residual sugar of 14.5% this is not “barely sweet” and, with none of us being sweet wine drinkers we could not make use of these wines.  A good idea would be to offer the option of any wine from the Angels Tears range that would most be enjoyed by the individual

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