We have been exceptionally lucky with volunteers. And in between the lovely folk who join us for short stays, are those who have extended their time here or returned to Fynbos. The most recent ofthese has been Dido Voorma and Jurriaan Moorsink from Amsterdam.
Dido arrived late last year and immediately her extraordinary energy and creativity swept over Fynbos. Not only did she cook up a storm but she brought with her a great interest in wine (and great pleasure in drinking it). She was in fact working on her Anthropology masters on SIP (Swartland Independent Producers), and in between her work she interviewed as many winemakers as she could.
During the last two weeks of her stay her boyfriend Jurriaan joined her and it was during this time that they made the decision the give up all other endeavours and become winemakers.
With this in mind they returned to Holland, extricated themselves from their lives there, and returned here for three months over harvest. They worked long hours in the cellar doing not just the fun stuff but all the gruelling cleaning and carting of crates and machinery. And in between they helped us in the kitchen and the garden and with the many summer guests. And of course this energetic couple didn’t just work hard, they also played hard; travelling up the West Coast to Africa Burn and partying with the young SIP winemakers.
We are very appreciative of both of them for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm. Most of all we are grateful for their help with winemaking- especially after our assistant winemaker Andy returned to the UK. Dido and Jurriaan now have a placement to make wine in Spain, followed by a harvest in France. We wish them both all the best for their careers and hope they will return to visit us with wines they have made.
|Clockwise from top left: 1) Working in the winery. 2) Packing to move to the new kitchen. 3) Tasting. 4) Doing bar duty at a wedding.|
|Clockwise from top left: 1) Down time. 2) Basking in the sun. 3) Dido and Suzie Cream catching 40 winks. 4) Farewell meal.|
|Clockwise from top left: 1) Jurriaan writing on notice board. 2) Cake for the staff. 3) Dido and Charles at pressing grapes. 4) Dido cleans up.|
|Clockwise from top left: 1) Drinks for the Dutch team. 2) Labelling wine. 3) Jurriaan presenting a wine tasting. 4) Blending wine.|
Account by Dido and Juriaan
Inexperienced and keen for a new adventure we dropped down in the cellar of Dragonridge Winery, on Fynbos estate, early February. We were received with open arms by Johan and Diana, looking out for some extra hands during these extremely busy times. Not only was this one of the best harvests ever, with great amounts of excellent fruit coming in every day, it was also wedding season, together with the building of new accommodation; so Fynbos literally had no moment’s rest for about two whole months.
Despite the busy times, we managed to have an excellent time, working as hard as we could, helping wherever was possible. Dido was a volunteer on the farm already for 3 months fell in love with Fynbos and returned with Jurriaan for harvest. We made a deal with Johan and Diana beforehand that we would mainly be volunteers for the winery, but if necessary we would help with other chores as well. This worked perfectly fine, and we absolutely fell in love with winemaking and are very grateful to Fynbos to have made this happen.
It was very exciting to get full responsibility over the cellar, and we treated the 2015 wines (and 2014 of course) like they were our babies; constantly checking, protecting, filling up and tasting. Working with wild ferments made us realize how special Dragonridge Wines are; their complexity and depth represents the region fully.
Thank you for Johan, Diana and Gail for the learnings, the warmth and the challenges and the laughter. And of course all the staff, thank you for the amazing time we had. And Charlie & Doubt, as talented beginning winemakers you really amazed us and hope you still love to be in the cellar.
Thank you for making us feel so at home and let us be part of the wonderful energy that Fynbos is. We will always be proud to have been part of that. Fynbos was our first harvest and will definitely be forever in our hearts.