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The next chapter: planting more vines

This blog is somewhat of a photographic journey of an important new chapter for us – planting more vineyards. Our first vines were planted in 2004, a small selection of cultivars that was decided on after digging more than 200 profile holes and many hours of research. You can have a look at the vine comparison chart that we drew up in the process here, it’s very interesting, if you’re that way inclined!

With the vineyards now 12 years old and having received enough accolades & critical acclaim to give us the confidence to take the plunge, we’re planting a further 5 hectares in the stony soils in Malgas. Still the only winery in the ward of Malgas, we’ve had a lot of interest from friends in the industry and have even sold a bit of grapes to Duncan Savage that he used in his ‘Follow the line’ which sold out in no time. Charla also made her own wine this year from Malgas grapes, look out for her ‘Tapestry’ which will be out later this year.

We are currently planting Roussanne, Verdelho, Tempranillo, Grenache Noir and a bundle of Marsanne.

digging samples
The process started by digging fresh profiles holes and taking heaps of soil samples and sending them off for analysis.

Soil preparation is really key and plays an enormous part in the health of the vineyard. The process started with spreading lime, gypsum and a little phosphate over the soil.

30 tons of lime tipping out…

Planting a vineyard is rather a big job and our stony soils aren’t making it any easier. We’ve had to get specialist equipment in to help with the soil preparation which is key when planting. We farm mainly as dry-land and only irrigate when absolutely necessary. This video is of a trench being dug, one of many!

I’m diggin it ? Digging trenches for our irrigation lines AND THEN it is planting time @sijnnwines #fastforward #newvineyards #soil #preppinglikeaboss @brian_nyamiyami

A video posted by Sijnn Winery (@sijnnwines) on

Next step – Ripping

Collecting our first vines at Vititec on 11 August. Roussanne and an experimental bundle of Marsanne. We’ll still plant Tempranillo, Grenache Noir and Verdelho this year. We’re waiting for Grenache Peluda, Petit Manseng and Assyrtiko, but it may be a few years before we get the plant material.

hat trick
Charla’s hat marks the spot where our first vine was be planted. A bundle of 50 Marsanne vines to see how they perform. This will be followed with Roussanne and Verdelho for the rest of the block.

The vines are kept in water to keep the roots moist and avoid them drying out.

1st one inAnd here they are! The first Marsanne is in the ground. It will probably be another 2 weeks before buds appear and another 4 weeks to plant the rest of the vineyard. Can’t wait for our first vintage in 2019 – farming is not for the impatient.

“It still boggles my mind how these delicate vines grow in these extreme soils” – Charla Haasbroek

One Response to The next chapter: planting more vines

  1. Germain Lehodey August 30, 2016 at 8:09 am #

    It is very impressive to see the amount of work needed to prepare the soil for the future great wines. Petit Manseng should be a first in South Africa!
    Well-done David and Co.