WATCH | How wine is made in the Constantia Valley

2020-03-21 04:15 - Gabi Zietsman
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Making wine isn't just agriculture - it's an art form.

After spending time behind-the-scenes at harvest time, we got to see what exactly goes into creating these drinkable masterpieces. 

READ: SA wine itineraries to help you drink your way through 2020 

picked grapes in a constantia glen vineyard

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Constantia Valley is home to the oldest wine farm in the country, and its wine route winds through many others that have established themselves on this history.

One such farm is Constantia Glen - throughout its history its lands had been used for various endeavours, until its current vineyard was planted between 2000 and 2001. Its first wine was produced in 2005, and today it stands proudly among the top producers of the valley.

Traveller24 was invited to come experience a harvest day in Constantia, and as everyone was divided up into different groups, we ended up with Constantia Glen's award-winning winemaker Justin van Wyk.

Starting out in the vineyards, we made our way to the cellar, where the pickers were sharply focused on ensuring all unwanted bits and bobs were removed from their harvest. According to Van Wyk, they take great pride in this, and having them involved in the entire process empowers them in their work.

LISTEN: The Check-In: That time these top Constantia Valley winemakers were just cheap SA labor in France 

workers picking through grapes

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Even while trying to guide us, Van Wyk can't help but fiddle with his art, unhappy with one tank's performance or moving a recently-sterilised clay pot into its spot. During harvest season, a winemaker's job is non-stop. 

Besides ensuring a good harvest for Constantia Glen, Van Wyk also has his own family label, made from grapes that he sources from all over, especially the Elgin Valley. He is big on family, so all the wines are named after his kids. 

But one big perk of being a winemaker is getting a taste of the wine straight from the barrel - in the early stages of fermentation the wine is almost more like grape juice - sweet, yet with a bite to remind you that, eventually, it will evolve into its final form. 

WATCH: This is the wine region where almost all the winemakers are friends

wine barrels in a cellar

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Constantia Unwrapped

Constantia Glen is one of ten farms on the Constantia Wine Route, and soon they will be celebrating their 'artworks' together as one big family in Constantia Unwrapped. 

The month-long event will give wine lovers the chance to buy tickets to taste two wines at every farm, as well as celebrating the craft with concerts, special tastings, runs and art exhibitions. 

Initially the event was set to take place in May, but with the moratorium placed on events due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event has been postponed - but stay tuned to their social media channels to find out about new dates later in the year.  

WATCH: An empty wine glass will not be tolerated in the Swartland 

all the winemakers from the constantia valley

The winemakers of Constantia Valley. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

bottles of constantia wine in a tunnel

The wines of Constantia Valley. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)