Cheers! Another harvest for Whittlesea winery

Plans to press the grapes locally rather than rely on Cape Town

PREMIUM

Defying the drought, Whittlesea’s Mayime Winery celebrated the start of its fourth successful grape harvest this week.
The harvest ceremony was attended by workers of the community-owned vineyard and representatives of the wine farm’s backers, the Chris Hani Development Agency (CHDA) and Chris Hani District municipality (CHDM).
About five hectares will be harvested in the vineyards at the Shiloh irrigation scheme in Whittlesea.
The grapes will trucked to Cape Town to be pressed and bottled under the Inkosi wine label in Cape Town.
Inkosi wine will be sold at R50 a bottle of pinotage or chardonnay at Komani’s Pick n Pay.
Mayime Winery director Mthuthuzeli Mtshiselwa said it cost about R40,000 to truck the fruit to Cape Town, a sum which could be saved if the winery had its own cellar and wine-making facility. More jobs could also be created.
“So far we have 120 seasonal workers and 13 permanent staff. We are harvesting five hectares. We have another seven hectares which we will harvest next year. If we can get a cellar we will be able to create more jobs,” he said.
He said they were planning to increase their vineyard to 50 hectares.
“We are hoping to export the wine to other countries. We have been cultivating grapes since 2012 and the vineyard was officially launched in 2017,” he said.
Partner Lieb Venter said: “We have planted more grapes and wish to make different types of wines here. This has been a good plantation,” he said.
“We have about 395 families who benefit from the project. We harvest in the morning because the fruit changes when it is hot. We start at 5am and at 9am the truck will be going to Cape Town.”
CHDM executive mayor Kholiswa Vimbayo said they had supported the winery since the start.
“We even went to Cape Town to see the cellar and how the wine is processed. They need about 40 hectares of land to be able to sustain this project.
“The department of rural development & land reform has committed R15m so that we can have a cellar here. We are in talks with the department of rural development & agrarian reform so that they can identify land for this project,” she said...

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