May 26, 2005
the stormhoek manifesto
This is the first draft, which I wrote with the help of the groovy cats at Stormhoek. It's still a work in progress etc:
STORMHOEK STANDARDS: "WHY FRESHNESS MATTERS"As it now stands, it seems to me more of an "internal message". The trick is how to externalize it (Hint: use way fewer words).
It isn't just about the wine.
It doesn't matter how good the wine is. Wine is just molecules- very enjoyable molecules, yes, but there's a lot more to it than that.
Making wine requires everything you've got, otherwise the exercise is pointless. Otherwise you're better off becoming a lawyer.
It's not enough to love the wine. You have to love the way you make it as well.
All that we do, from start to finish, is governed by a set of rules, a mantra, a code of conduct – our ‘Stormhoek Standards’ that require in everything we do, to deliver the absolute best possible.
It isn't rocket science, it's just what we do. We do it because we believe.
Stormhoek Standards are, when taken together, a protocol to ensure the consistency and quality of our wines, carried out in a passionate, responsible, principled manner. Quality on its own is a single aspect; Stormhoek Standards is our wine made manifest in human action.
It's what we are.
Why bring soil experts in from France to work with our growers? Why engage some of the most renowned white wine experts in the world to work on improving the quality and freshness of our whites? Why obsess about grape yields, clones and orientation of our vineyards?
Because this stuff matters to us.
Every little thing we do from vine to bottle effects the ultimate quality of our wine. We must do hundreds of things right, 365 days of the year.
Or else we have nothing.
In the vineyard, we actively guide the decisions and actions of our growers with our ‘wine skills’ training programme – teaching them The Stormhoek Way. Ensuring that farmers understand how different one grape variety is different from the next. All need to be cultivated like children – with love and care, but differently depending on their needs and temperament. We farm sustainability and responsibly, keeping the use of pesticides and herbicides to an absolute minimum.
We think it's worth fighting for. This is what defines us, as winemakers, producers and human beings with people we love and love us back.
As well as ‘wine skills’, our programme also brings empowering life skills. The people who work so hard to create our wines are treated fairly and well. Stormhoek’s home – a magical valley just outside Wellington, in the Western Cape – is home to dozens of families, as well as a ground-breaking community education project. Stormhoek isn’t a label and a bank account – it’s people, place, heart and soul.
Our wine has to taste like the people around us matter, or else, again, we have nothing.
Finally, in the bottle, Stormhoek Standards are about capturing the freshness and vitality of South Africa. Our wines buzz with excitement and life. Whites and rosés that are fresh, crisp, zesty, buoyant, vibrant, enticing. Reds that are jammy, satisfying, plump. Styles that are relevant, modern and attractive to our customers. All delivering outstanding value. All tasting fantastic.
We have chosen to spend our short time we have been given on this earth to make wine. And when people drink Stormheok, they will know.
They will know.