Living closed to nature

After the drought in 2016 and the vineyards struggling ever since – Lammershoek had to work miracles to stay alive and make the best of what we still could get out of our old beautiful vines. And then – like most of the world – lockdown hit us quite hard.

No cellar work in the beginning, no alcohol sales – what would happen to our work force, how could we keep our team and their families – about 65 all together going through this pandemic?

We don’t need to mention that we were quite worried at some stage. But then we decided worrying wouldn’t help and decided to make most out of it.

We tried to make sure our wines  that had just been pressed – the last pressing was on the last day before lockdown – were monitored and treated according to their needs –  as winemaker Jorrie was not allowed to travel in the first couple of weeks – he sent out whatsapps with specifying the most urgent to dos in the cellar for our staff – just three of our staff continued to look after the cellar (as they live on the farm grounds) and made sure our precious juices would develop according to the briefing. And somehow– Jorrie made it out to the farm at least once a week watching his babies grow into beautiful wines.

Our vineyards were taken care of by farm manager Marius and our workers – and we only recently pruned with the suckering to happen in the next couple of weeks. We even managed to plant a new block of Roussanne and are looking forward to its first fruit showing. Whenever the vineyards didn’t need our attention the team worked on beautifications in our gardens, around the stormwater dam and along our roads. Only recently we added around 90 olive trees as much for their looks as their crop.

Some good rains blessed Lammershoek and it was our great objective to see our dam as full as possible. Therefore, after Marius had made sure the basic contouring had happened before lockdown, we took it up as our fitness program this winter to dig channels all over the farm to secure the water to flow at its best – resulting in sore hands. But this was compensated by the sound of the plop when the mud came out and the water started flowing at speed.

A huge veggie garden was started as a community project in order to keep everyone busy, have our own vegetables and be self-sustainable as much as possible as well as help our staff learn more about healthy nutrition. Everyone excitedly collected cow manure and watched the sprouts turning into lettuce, cabbage, beans, onions, broccoli and cauliflower – ( thanks to Corne and https://www.livingseeds.co.za/)

Normally we sell a few of our Nguni cattle before the new-borns arrive. But as this was not possible during lockdown our heard grew to 45 and we were able to detect a new-born every other day – beautiful calves all watched and protected by our new donkey Dora that we adopted from our neighbour as it was in a constant quarrel with their horse. There is not a day now where Dora does not come running towards us on our evening walks – keen to join us – knowing we will always have an apple for her.

Our “animal farm” was even enlarged by two further members – Flow and Magic. Two thoroughbreds that we took in as rescue horses – almost starved to death – are now greeting every Lammershoek visitor with a friendly neigh. Preferably they both join us for our Friday after work bottle of Innocent Rosé at our “board room” – a beautiful spot on top of our vineyards where we have planted a tree and put out a table with benches to enjoy the stunning views. When the horses come and join, they love to roam around and graze and would so much like to get a sip of our amazing wine as well – unfortunately this we don’t share.

We would not live up to our name Lammershoek if it wasn’t for our little herd of sheep. Our ram Tjoppie finally (after having us waiting for quite a while) did his job and we now have a new Tjoppie-generation grazing our fields.

The sheep as well as the cattle sometimes gave us a hard time when they all of a sudden decided to move to a different camp without “telling” us first. So on some days we had to get out late at night or early in the morning to “convince” them to go back to their designated camp.

With the ease of the lockdown we res-started selling of our wines – luckily, we had just completed the work on our new website and shop before lockdown, so we were able to sell via the web shop instead of supplying our restaurants that were still closed.

We were overwhelmed by the great thirst of our clients and did our best to deliver the wines to them ASAP, meaning not only our staff, but every member of the team be it wine maker, farm manager or owner delivered wines to our clients – ( order online here)

Now all of a sudden summer is back in the Swartland slowly turning our green and lush vineyards and fields back to the dry land this area is known for. We don`t know what the upcoming months will bring in these times but we feel blessed to be a part of such a extraordinary place – living close to nature!

Only an hour from Cape Town this gem is so full of daily mysteries and surprises it always makes your travel worth while – so come out – we look forward to welcoming you on Lammershoek! – Living close to nature