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Swartland Covid Chronicles

Who would have thought that 2020 would be so tumultuous!? It is a year of unprecedented challenges with far reaching consequences for people all around the world. The Swartland Wine- & Olive Route has been no exception.

Like so many of you, our Wine Route Manager has been working from home and taking on new challenges, such as learning how to manage everything online such as meetings via Teams and Zoom, and teaching 7th grade mathematics in between doing social media and commenting on proposed government regulations!

Fortunately, our wineries were allowed to continue with harvest and wine making processes during the first few weeks of lockdown, unfortunately they were not allowed to export or sell wines in the local market. We are thankful however that the restrictions on exporting wines were lifted on the 1st of May 2020 and that local sales will be allowed as from the 1st of June 2020 under strict conditions.

The buzz-words used during many webinars and online meetings that are currently being hosted are “innovation”, “online”, “out-of-the-box” and “recovery”. We are focussing on the recovery stage that is lying ahead of us, whilst we carry on doing what we can on a daily basis to engage with our producers, industry bodies and target market and to keep the flag flying high for the Swartland. A childhood joke comes to mind: “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “Piece by piece…”

For the moment, stay home and stay safe. One day soon we will travel and meet again. The Swartland will be here, ready to receive you with open arms.

Local Heroes Step up to the Challenge

Special force teams around the world are taught when there’s a crisis, movement is life. Making a few mistakes along the way isn’t fatal but doing nothing is.

When the virus hit, the Swartland jumped into action, with most of our farmers leading the way. Existing charity programmes have been expanded and supplemented in an attempt to ensure sustainable food security in the region’s most vulnerable communities.


A walk on the wild side

There’s been plenty of talk about the “return of nature” during lockdown. The camera-trap photograph of the leopard at Paardeberg’s Kalmoesfontein (Badenhorst Family Wines) might have come across your newsfeed recently.

The Swartland is of course no stranger to nature-lovers. The region with its open skies, uncluttered hills and mountains has always been the ideal break-away bolt hole. Farmstays don’t only bring you closer to this fresh air, but also the region’s fragile biodiversity.

This in mind, we thought it an opportune time to talk to the Cape Leopard Trust, the predator conservation group active in parts of the Swartland. It is just one of the organisations along with the Landmark Foundation and Cape Nature engaged in conservation in the region.

Read More

Stay healthy and eat olives

Our olive producers are all hard at work harvesting, pressing olives and related olive products. The 2020 olive season looks very promising. There was little wind, which resulted in good pollination and the rain received over the Easter weekend helped for quality and quantity, whilst the droughts have kept pests in check. Olives is recognized as an essential product, therefore keep a look-out on our social media channels for lockdown specials and new olive oil releases. Place your order online and have it delivered to your door.

- The Olive Boutique has released their first unfiltered olive oil of the 2020 season, a delicate Frantoio. Order an old favourite from their product range on their online shop at www.olive-boutique.co.za or send an e-mail to olives@oliveboutique.co.za to enquire.

- Click and order any of Kloovenburg’s olives, olive oil or body products from their online shop. Their 5 litre olive oil is currently on special for R420 (normal price R735). Also keep a lookout for their Father’s Day Gift Boxes that will be available soon. Visit www.kloovenburg.com to place your order.

- Het Vlock Casteel is offering a discount on their olive oil. Vlok Olive Oil Blend 4,5 litre Pouch for R360 (Was R590) and Vlok Olive Oil Blend 4,5 litre Combo (Pouch & Wooden box) for R560.00 (Was R770). Custom gift boxes are also available on request. Purchases of R400 or more receive free delivery in the Cape Town area. Orders must be placed via e-mail and a full EFT payment is required for any order to be dispatched. Send an e-mail to info@hetvlockcasteel.co.za for a quote. Visit www.hetvlockcasteel.co.za for more information on their full range of products.

Read more about the benefits of Swartland olive oils on this blog post

About the 2020 wine grape harvest and some lockdown specials

Swartland fans can look forward to sampling and stocking up on some excellent quality 2020 wines once lockdown has lifted.

According to Hanno van Schalkwyk, viticulturist for Vinpro, the yields were larger than in 2019, whilst early indications showed that it will be an excellent year with regards to wine quality. Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay are showing exceptional cultivar characteristics, whilst the red wines have excellent quality with good fruit concentration, full bodied character and colour.

A number of our producers are offering lockdown specials at the moment. Take advantage of these specials and contact them directly to place your order. For more information, please visit our website www.swartlandwineandolives.co.za to retrieve all wine cellar and producers contact details. Please note that delivery of wine will only take place once it is allowed under government lockdown regulations.

- The Wine Kollective, the biggest little wine shop in the Swartland, stock a selection of Swartland wines from many of the smaller, independent wine producers in the region. Support our small producers and order your collection of premium, hand crafted wines directly from their online wine shop www.thewinekollective.co.za or e-mail anton@thewinekollective.co.za

- Pulpit Rock Winery is offering a huge special on their 2018 unwooded Chardonnay. Order 6 bottles and pay only R200. A minimum of 2 cases must be ordered to be eligible. Available while stocks last. (Free delivery to Cape Town, Boland and the West Coast.) Send an e-mail to info@pulpitrock.co.za to place your order or for more info.

- Order online and receive a 15% drink at home discount from Lammershoek Wines if you order during the lockdown period. A minimum order of 6 bottles are required. Delivery nationwide after lockdown is lifted. Please visit https://www.lammershoek.co.za/all-products/ to place your order.

- Wightman & Sons is offering a 10% discount on all of their wines until the end of May. Hurry up and send an
e-mail to moreligvineyards@paarlonline.co.za to secure yours.

- Ex Animo is taking online orders for Intellego Wines and Testalonga Wines and will deliver as soon as it is allowed. Please visit www.exanimo.co.za to place your order or for more info.

- Het Vlock Casteel’s lockdown barrel aged red wine special will lift anyone’s spirit. Het Vlock Casteel Merlot 2016 and Het Vlock Casteel Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is now available at R450 for a box of 6 (was R540). Both these wines were awarded silver in the 2018 Veritas awards and gold in the 2018 Michelangelo Wine awards. Send an e-mail to info@hetvlockcasteel.co.za to enquire and have yours delivered after lockdown is lifted.

- Riebeek Valley Wine Co is offering a 20% discount on an order of 6 bottles or more of their Riebeek Cellars Collection wines.

Offer valid until Sunday, 31 May 2020, so hurry and place your order today by sending an e-mail to tastingroom@riebeekwineco.co.za

Technology and precision farming the new norm in wine farming

Wine farming and the 4th Industrial Revolution, together with the Internet of things, have introduced major technological advancements to precision farming. More recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments have enabled today’s farmer to use electronic equipment and related data sets to automate various farming processes. Through the collection and processing of data, AI algorithms can assist a wine farmer to alter growing conditions to deal with climate changes. We can therefore no longer ignore these benefits for precision farming and a special focus on the insurance of these advanced pieces of equipment has become inevitable.

Emil Pretorius, Santam Business Development Manager, explains the cover for electronic equipment, and the new enhancements forming part of the Electronic Equipment section of the Agriculture policy. These enhancements are aligned with the new agricultural practices that are now part of a farmer’s business.

“Providing specialist risk solutions for electronic equipment over a number of year’s means we have developed a detailed understanding of insuring these items,” says Emil.

These pieces of electronic equipment are much riskier than other farm assets, resulting in physical loss or damage due to lightning, power surge, electrical, mechanical or electronic breakdown and theft of these items.

Santam Agriculture recently revised the Electronic Equipment section of policies and added some enhancements,” says Emil.

What are the main enhancements to the Electronic Equipment section?

Emil explains that special attention was given to enhance cover. The policy wording provides cover for loss of or damage to the insured property from any cause not otherwise excluded.

Electronic equipment will be covered within that part of the building, in transit or temporarily at any premises en route. For the wine farmer it is important to note that any electronic equipment, together with the software, used within the building needs to be insured under this section. Electronic equipment that forms part of sorting lines, air lines, incline conveyors, et cetera is only one example.

Emil explains that cover for insured property like a laptop, tablet or other similar portable electronic equipment designed to be carried by a person, including cover for theft or burglary, will now be provided anywhere in the world. As part of data collection, wine farmers are increasingly making use of drones and cameras to capture colour, thermal and infrared images of the vineyard, all with optimal benefits to the farmer. The camera and software need to be insured under this section. The drone needs to be insured with Santam Aviation to provide for liability cover.

Another enhancement is cover for insured property of a specialist nature. Items such as GPS navigation systems, control systems, sensors, telematics and automation equipment will enjoy cover at or away from the insured premises, in any location (other than a building) or vehicle. Wine farmers often use various electronic instruments like sensors to assess the water needs and soil conditions.

Consequential loss has been extended with optional cover for business interruption. This is important cover for the loss of profit following the damage to or loss of an insured item.

Emil says we can no longer ignore the importance of the optional cover for the loss of data. Reinstatement of data is available under this section.

Although investment in these technologies comes at a high cost, the contribution towards the farmer’s success is significant. It is therefore important for the farmer to attend to the insurance of these items to ensure the long-term sustainability of the farm. Santam is known for being the partner of choice of our farmers and is committed to assisting farmers with their insurance needs related to smart farming.

Jolene Janse van Rensburg.
Wine Route Manager

Swartland Wine & Olive Route
Tel: 022 487 1133
Telefax: 022 487 2063
Fax2email: 086 211 0121

Proudly sponsored by Santam Agriculture