Bumbling from tough months to amazingly rewarding months this 2017 past fast catching us, as if completely unaware, looking at Christmas decorations adorning all towns. Time to summarize all our activities and experiences to put this 2017 finally to rest and focus on our 2018’s goals.
2017 AYAMA FARMING. Harvest was another memorable experience being the first wine vintage for Grenache blanc, Grenache Noir, Petit Shiraz, Carignan, Viognier. All the new vineyards have been particularly generous and strong as 2 years of draught would not be effecting them. The richness in flavours and taste of all these grapes expressed themselves from the first must crushed to the fined wine ready for bottling. Vermentino kept growing strong showing a “truly Italian, proudly South African” character, as not being truly bothered by draught and heatwaves. We can’t forget to mention our old vines. Not matter what, Chenin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz are not pulling back on their performances.
Olives have been on their low production year for all Western Cape producers. Local Olive oil is of beautiful quality, which makes it even more precious as the availability shortage gets fulfilled by imported oils.
Artichokes season can be recorded as the one found in the books as “how artichokes perform with water shortage and heatwaves… “. They have been slowly growing, slow to the point we thought they will not get to produce any fruit. Suddenly waking up giving 3 weeks of full, high quality production, and as fast as they woke up… they get back to sleep.
We were hoping on wearing our Italian winter cloths, especially the rain coats during June/October instead our wardrobe was only slightly touched on the winter side. No rain, water shortage alerts put up in January 2017 were never took away from main roads in Paarl, Stellenbosch, Cape Town. We drilled 2 boreholes, 150 meters deep, to find sand burying our hopes on closer to main site water source. It is heart-breaking having to decide to pull back on new plantings or watching at water need showing on existing ones. This worry doesn’t come alone. The beautiful fynbos surrounding us has never being so dry in years. Fire alert is set to a maximum level. 2017 took away entire farms, vineyards, buildings in Paarl, Wellington, Stellenbosch effecting all of us and our businesses. And unfortunately, this critical situation will carry on for another 4/6 months, hoping 2018 winter is recording at least the yearly average of 700/800 mm rainfall against the 240 mm of this year.
AYAMA WINES during 2017. Shouting loud “welcome Vermentino” was the highlight of the year. Proudly introducing this variety to South Africa, we made history with our 2016 Vintage Auction. It was a very emotional moment for all Ayama team. 10 patient years from the draft idea of making something unique at Slent and the first bottles sold worldwide have been paying us back with amazing results at the Action itself, high ratings as the 91/100 from Tim Atkins, long list of wine lovers buying “en-primeur” the 2017 vintage and fantastic new Ayama ambassadors as Kwanele Boltina between many others.
Ayama Chenin and Pinotage are the outstanding stars in all markets, experiencing some shortages for which we need to thank again all Ayama-fanatics, especially the wine importers and partners supporting us patiently through this tough past year. Our Leopard Spot range as well the Baboons’ range are strongly settling worldwide and through these ranges we are supporting good causes like Baboons’ Matters and the Human Rights range.
Prowein, Vinitaly, Safari Wine Club Festival, Sanlam Top Destination, Pizza Pasta Festival, South African Wine Tasting – Warsaw some of the events where Ayama Wines were starring and between all awards, we like to mention Ayama Leopard Spot Red – Gold medal from SA Women’s wine award.
We launch our new Ayama.co.za website, which is a web-door to Ayamateca.com, our online shopping and ayamavermentino.com giving the full picture of what Vermentino is, making this variety known to those new to it. And we have proudly been amazed by the positive response of our “wine club”, AyamaFanatics, meeting the desire to be part of the Ayama family from many people visiting and following us.
“AYAMA EXPERIENCE” OPENED. We did renovate one of our oldest houses on the farm making of it the expected destination for many wine lovers looking for new experiences reaching us occasionally during all past years. They were all asking to spend more time on the farm, sharing our Italian passion for fine wine and conservation enjoying being off the beaten track in the perfect Perdeberg lifestyle. Simple and quiet, furnished with a touch of African/Italian style, Ayama ROCKHOUSE have seen fantastic guests becoming AyamaFanatics from the first hours spent relaxing by us. They all enjoyed tasting and buying wines at AYAMATECA to fulfil their boots before going home. Sharing our little Nature paradise is one of the greatest gifts we could have in 2017.
AYAMA TEAM. 2017 have seen an interesting turnover of young people adding an interesting note to our knowledge of their expectations and desires. Our team keeps growing strong in values, fairness and respect. Overall, we should mention each one of the team members, but a particular thanking note goes to Talia Engelbrecht, as between the managing team, and at the same rate as Elaine Abrahams, she was definitively putting all herself out there in the vineyards and the marketing side. Best worker of the year award went to Andrew Maloy. Being all his life living at Slent, he still performs with the same enthusiasm and dedication.
PERDJIE SCHOOL. 2017 was inspired by this Madiba’s quote: “Let us reach out to the children. Let us do whatever we can to support their fight to rise above their pain and suffering.
It always gives me great pleasure to be surrounded by the beautiful children of our land. Whenever I am with energetic young people such as yourselves I feel like a recharged battery, confident that our country can look forward to great things. You are the future of this country – you are the people who will lead us into the next century.”
We want to thank from heart all those contributing to this project. It is an amazing journey for all of us.
2018, we are looking forward to greeting you and start a new year of adventures, dedication and projects to be shared… send us some rain!!!
Merry Christmas and a very, very, very HAPPY 2018! Ayama Team