Our 2017 Sauvignon blanc harvest has JUST started.
We’ll be harvesting 3 Sauvignon blancs, to make three different wines off our soil types. Founder and winemaker, Dirk Human, decides when to start the harvest based on the phenolic (or physiological) ripeness of the grapes.
“We’re looking for nature’s sweet spot – when those specific flavours that make our wines unique have developed, and the sugar level and acidity are in perfect balance with each other,” says Dirk Human.
And their readiness is determined by our unique terroir, usually a bit later than other wine-growing areas in South Africa due to our specific location.
What makes us different?
We’re based close to Africa’s southernmost tip (just 13km from
the coast). Dirk’s family have been here for 4 generations.
The coastal shelf on the Agulhas Plain was formed 900 million years ago,
and is believed to have originally been part of Antarctica.
Here's a fun fact
At the coast, you’ll find our namesake – the Black Oystercatcher birds. These birds are near threatened, with only some 6000 adults remaining. Years ago, people could drive along our coast – disturbing these birds, which pair for life. Now that’s banned (except with special permits).
Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
The Agulhas Lighthouse is 170 years old this year! And it’s still operating (the second-oldest in the country to still work). Our coast is extremely hazardous, and this beacon has saved many lives over the years.
We’re not only a winemaking hub; we’re also a wonderful destination for visitors who love the sea and long, pristine beaches.
Dirk himself spent much of his youth at their lovely old family beach house – an old wooden house at the Agulhas Lagoon. Today the old structure has been replaced by the Agulhas Rest Camp – part of the Agulhas National Park.
We’ve got two main winds here: our south-easters and south-westers
– both directly off the sea so they retain their chill. So even during the hot summers, these winds keep our vineyards pretty cool.
Our mean temperature is only 22 degrees Celsius.
This stops our berries from losing their intense flavours.
The Agulhas Plain is pretty flat – so the winds reach our vineyards with ease. The Plain is a mix of natural veld and agricultural land.
So we’re home to
beautiful landscapes (including our golden wheat fields)
Not to mention crucial wetlands and threatened fynbos found only here
Spectacular bird life
like our protected blue cranes
And of course our 18 hectares
Our marginal soils and unique geology therefore play a major role in crafting our small compact berries.
So given that we’re so close to the ocean, we’re known as a cool-climate wine producing area.
Then add our unique soil types and our extreme growing conditions…
And you can taste the terroir in our Sauvignon blanc.
You now know more about our area. But how’s your winemaking jargon?
These are compounds you’ll find in the skins, seeds and stems of a grape. If you’re keen to sound smart using science, then just call them ‘polyphenols’. These compounds give wines the dry taste we’ve come to love.
As a grape become ripe, its flavour and texture changes from bitter and quite hard, to soft and sweet. This means there’s a change in the tannins and other phenolic compounds that are found in the grape’s skin, seeds and stems – called ‘phenolic’ ripeness (also known as ‘physiological’ ripeness). This plays a part in determining the colour, aroma and flavour of the wine.
– COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED –
OUR WINNER IS ANNEKE SMIT
“I’ve been to The Black Oystercatcher 4 times, the last time was last year with my mom, Gusta Smit and my friend, Katrina Dempsey. It’s impossible to name only one thing about the Overberg which is “the best”, so here goes: I love how the rolling hills as I drive from Somerset West to Struisbaai calm me down, especially when it’s all shades of green and golden Canola-yellow, dotted with fluffy white sheep. I love the way I can feel the temperature drop with about 10°C every time I get to the other side of Bredasdorp and the smell of fynbos, salty ocean water and all the friendly faces greeting me at Struisbaai harbour.”
Now it’s your turn: We want to reward you if you’ve ever checked in at the Black Oystercatcher. We’re giving away a ‘case’ of our Secrets of Sauvignon – a Sauvignon blanc from each of the soil types. Tell us when you visited us and your favourite part of the Overberg experience by commenting below.
Your prize will be sent to you once the 3 Sauvignon blancs have been bottled and labelled – likely at the end of the year. Competition closes on Tuesday 28 February at 5pm.
Terms & Conditions
The winner will be announced on 1 March 2017.
The prize is three bottles of Sauvignon blanc – made from the three unique soil types in the Black Oystercatcher vineyards, as part of the Secrets of Sauvignon campaign.
Prizes will be disbursed once the wine is bottled and labelled – likely in December 2017.
Children under 18 cannot enter the competition.
The winner will be randomly selected from email entries on the Secrets of Sauvignon web page.
The Black Oystercatcher’s decision in respect of all matters with regards to the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
We reserve the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions.
Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
The Black Oystercatcher will not distribute the emails collected to any third parties. The email addresses will only be used by the Black Oystercatcher to inform and update entrants of news and events taking place at the Black Oystercatcher. Entrants can unsubscribe from these updates at any time.
We reserve the right to not publish any inappropriate comments on the Secrets of Sauvignon web page and other related Black Oystercatcher pages.
Prize cannot be exchanged for money.
The winner will receive a message via email – and the winner’s name will appear on the Black Oystercatcher social media platforms.
Prize delivery will be arranged by the Black Oystercatcher administration team.
Next time we connect
Harvest will be well underway. And we’ll be on our way to start harvesting the first of our three distinctive Sauvignon blancs off our three soil types – all to uncover the Secrets of Sauvignon.