February 3, 2006
Proteas and other indigenous vegetation (fynbos) ablaze at Stormhoek yesterday
All hands to the water pumps. Stormhoek vineyard work took a back seat yesterday as a fire crossed our boundary and threatened the Viognier vineyard and a block of Chenin Blanc.
We had a second major fire (after the Christmas conflagration) burning through our valley last week, this time coming from the south.
On Friday, a few hours of air-borne water-bombing seemed to put it out. But after a couple of hot and wind free days, a south-easterly gale started up and the fire was running again.
The helicopters came back yesterday afternoon and drowned our end of the blaze.
2 or 3 kilometres from the Stormhoek vineyards, the fire is still burning through the mountain fynbos, but it is burning towards a scene of desolation; hundreds of hectares of charred stumps and ash indicate that it may burn itself out by the weekend.
Posted by graham knox at February 3, 2006 10:25 AM
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Are the grapes harvested yet? You could end up with smoke taint, which is mainly from Guaiacol - it's been a big problem in some Australian regions.
Posted by: Jamie Goode at February 3, 2006 2:24 PM
Do you think these fires will have an impact on your wine's flavour? There's an article here about smoke taint being the biggest issue in Australia in 2003/4.
Posted by: Mark at February 3, 2006 8:39 PM
The grapes are still on the vines. We start Tuesday.
We were in luck,
the vines are upwind from the fire, so no soot or smoke deposit should have an influence.
We'll have to have a look when fermentation is over
Posted by: graham knox at February 4, 2006 3:49 PM
What a neat idea for an african winery to use blogs for publicity. I'm so glad to hear that your vineyard stayed mostly intact through the fire. The plan was to try out your wines and enjoy them =)
Btw - Does smoke taint occur before or after wine is bottled, or both?
The Rare & Vintage Wine Brokers at
Posted by: Tyler West at February 6, 2006 6:27 PM
The most likely way for smoke or anything atmospheric to taint wine is before bottling.
If the wine is closely sealed in the bottle, it should pretty safe.
Posted by: graham knox at February 10, 2006 7:38 AM