Lomond Triathlon, 16 December 2017
The Lomond off-road triathlon was held at the stunning Lomond Wine Estate just outside Gansbaai.
Lomond is one of very few wineries with a Cape Agulhas District appellation. Located 8km from the sea as the crow flies, the 800ha farm is kept cool by the south-west and south-east winds that blow during the summer months. Its extreme southerly location, proximity to the sea and varied soils with unique terroir, contribute to some very distinctive single-vineyard wines that amply reflect their origins.More Info
THE ALCHEMY OF NATURE
Lomond is situated in the Uilenkraals River valley, near Gansbaai at a latitude of 34° 34’ South, just 8kms from the sea as the crow flies. The property falls under the Cape Agulhas wine of origin appellation. It is along this southern African coastline that the Indian and Atlantic oceans converge and their influence contributes to the diversity of wine-growing conditions on the farm and the complexity of its wines.
Diversity of Wine-growing Conditions
Vines are cooled during the summer months by south-easterly and south-westerly winds, helping to protract the ripening period and intensify fruit flavours.
The intrusion of granite in the southern portion of the land has created a unique geological formation, where both Table Mountain sandstone and Bokkeveld shale are dominant. There are 18 different soil types identified on the farm, and as many as six different soil types can be found within a single five-hectare block. Altitudes range from 30 metres to 120 metres above sea level. Such variety of conditions helps to create interesting, multi-faceted and layered wines.
To optimise the terroir, renowned soil scientist Dawid Saayman and viticulturist Prof Eben Archer were consulted in collaboration with Wayne Gabb in developing a very specific planting programme, taking into account the diversity of soils, slopes and elevation, that has enabled Lomond to successfully produce a range of single-vineyard wines, as well as varietal and blended wines, all of great elegance, depth and complexity.
To highlight the wealth of floral biodiversity on the farm, several of these wines are named from the natural fynbos species found on the property. Names include Pincushion, Sugarbush, Snowbush, Conebush and Cat’s Tail.
Lomond is one of a handful of wine farms in the Cape Agulhas District, one of the coolest parts of the Cape Winelands. From anywhere on the farm, the ocean is visible; in fact it is only 8km away as the crow flies. It is the cooling ocean breezes that allow the grapes to ripen slowlySignificant rainfall during summer makes irrigation almost unnecessary, while the continuous sea breezes keep diseases at bay.
The owners of Lomond are pioneers. They have taken virgin, unchartered territory and boldly planted vineyards where none had been before. Shiraz, Merlot and Sauvignon blanc were planted first and have shown to be most successful while small pockets of Nouvelle, Viognier, Sémillon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre have also been planted to assess their potential.
Given the diversity of wine-growing conditions on the farm, the low vigour soils and the vineyard configurations, Lomond lends itself to the production of complex and interesting single vineyard wines.
Upon closer inspection you will notice the exquisite indigenous vegetation surrounding these vineyards. This is called fynbos,part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a rich and diverse floral kingdom unique to the southern tip of Africa. Great care has been taken to conserve these plants, to eradicate alien ones and encourage the return of indigenous birds, insects and other life.
In the Beginning...
"In 1999, having been involved with farming deciduos fruit in the Elgin valley for 12 years, I was looking for a new farming venture, with virgin soils and a sustainable climate, when I drove into the defined Uilkraalsriver valley, I was blown away by the uniqueness of the area, this was the start of Lomond," - Wayne Gabb
Lomond takes its name from the Ben Lomond Mountain, located on the farm. Ben Lomond was named by Scottish survivors of HMS Birkenhead, which sank in 1852. The ship was carrying troops to the frontier wars in Southern Africa, when it hit an unchartered rock in shark infected waters.
There were not enough lifeboats on board: however the soldiers famously stood firm and led by the Captain they allowed women and children to leave the ship first. The percer was a Scotsman who made it a shore and as ledgend has it, buried the treasure in the Ben Lomond mountains found on Lomond Farm.
Viticulturist & Winemaker
Wayne Gabb, viticulturist of coastal estate Lomond Wines, and also general manager of the 1 100 ha property, believes his first responsibility is to increase the organic matter in the soil before tackling his vines.
"We give life to the soil, inoculating it with beneficial micro-organisms and increasing the organic matter, which helps to create an environment that promotes the self-induced resistance of the plants to the risk of disease. This approach is enhanced by a predator release programme that allows insects to feed off otherwise destructive pests."
It’s an attitude to farming that has not only helped to earn Lomond membership of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) for protecting the environment and conserving the indigenous habitat but has played a key role in the estate’s fast-growing reputation for award-winning Sauvignon blanc.
Situated 34Ëš 34' south, near Gansbaai, Lomond is one of very few wineries with a Cape Agulhas District appellation. It is just 8 kilometres from the sea as the crow flies and is cooled by south-west and south-east winds that blow during the summer months.
"This helps to create an environment that is cooler on average than Elgin but with less day and night-time temperature variation. The farm also has the advantage of naturally occurring indigenous vegetation and low hills to act as a filter for the salt-laden sea air. With its varying terrain and low-vigour soil types and the opportunity to plant vines with different aspects and elevations, we had found the ideal site for Sauvignon blanc."
He does stress that other varietals fare well here too, including Syrah, Merlot, MourvÄ—dre, Viognier and Semillon.
The wines are made by Kobus Gerber.
"Our Sauvignon blancs really come into their own after 18 months to two years. Although well scored by Platter, with five, four and-a-half and four-star ratings, the evaluations are generally based on pre-bottling samples. These wines need a bit of time to evolve and show the full extent of their complexity."
Moving into an entirely new terrain for wine, Gabb made a personal pact in establishing Lomond to keep the viticulture as "clean and green" as possible and to maintain the farm’s abundant biodiversity by setting aside 350 ha for conservation. "We didn’t want to adversely impact the soil or the dam that also serves the surrounding community and so decided to apply organic interventions as far as possible in those areas where we do cultivate vineyards. We have also chosen to farm in a way that gives maximum expression to the diversity of soil types and elevations on the farm, while protecting the indigenous habitat here."
There are 18 soil types on the property and a range of altitudes. Some have direct exposure to the sea, others have a mountain aspect. The intrusion of granite in the southern portion of the farm has created a unique geological formation, unlike the rest of the district, where Table Mountain sandstone and Bokkeveld shale are found. The granite-derived soils vary from gravelly ferricrete to kaolin clay, contributing to the complexity of fruit flavours expressed in the wines.
"When we mapped out the individual blocks for our single-vineyard wines we were very mindful of how we would establish each vineyard in a way that would manifest its fruit complexity. In many instances different soil types occur within very short distances, creating a micro-patchwork effect. In the Sugarbush vineyard, we have planted one clone but in the Pincushion we have two clones to provide us with the additional flavour facets."
He uses a process of leaf-breaking around the grape bunches to allow for diffuse sunlight to filter through and promote optimal ripening in summer and only applies drip irrigation where absolutely necessary "and then only on those parts of the farm that need it".
Picking is all done by hand and largely on taste, with the Sugarbush picked between 23ËšB to 23,5ËšB and the Pincushion a little earlier, at 22ËšB to 22,5ËšB. "We never harvest until we have achieved a good balance between fruit sugar and acid levels, always looking to create full, deep flavours but with a refreshing acidity."
Gabb also runs a business that provides organic interventions for all types of farming and home gardening. "Lomond provided the motivation to develop these products so we could minimise our impact. It’s an eco-motivated approach but it seems to bring out the very best in our wines."
- Kobus Gerber
"It is the cool breezes from the coast that allow the grapes to ripen slowly and achieve beautiful balance with intensity of flavour. We try to express the unique climate and diversity of soils in Lomond wines that gain complexity with time."
Wines grown on virgin land and made by visionaries must inevitably reflect their brave background, and Lomond wines do just that. The elements and their impact on the land and the vines have been harnessed, but not tamed, in the range with a great respect for nature. Lomond wines are exciting, complex,
daring but also very enjoyable and always food-friendly.
Each of the single-vineyard wines in the range is named after a floral species
found on the farm and celebrates Lomond’s natural heritage.
A Sustainable Operation
Lomond Wine Estate is a joint venture between Lomond Properties (Shareholders Wayne Gabb and Dave Mostert) and Distell Corporation (Pty) Ltd the largest drinks company in South Africa. A shareholding for a Farm Workers Community Trust is further being established.
The farms that make up Lomond Wine Estate were originally purchased in 1999, and the first vines were planted in 2000. Currently 120 hectares of vineyard have been developed. The first Lomond wines were released in 2005.
All the vineyards are farmed according to the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) set of eco- sustainable principles. Lomond is also a member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, in recognition of its efforts to rehabilitate indigenous habitat on the farm. The property covers 1 100 hectares with 350 hectares allocated for cultivation to vine. The Lomond dam a central focal point of the farm has a surface area of 110 hectares.with the remainder of the farm being set aside for conservation. The farm employs pressure-compensated drip irrigation in the vineyards with scheduling planned according to soil type and moisture levels, resulting in considerable water savings.
Organic interventions are applied to fertilise the soils and to address pests and fungi. Straw mulching under the vines reduces weed populations, while winter cover crops between the vine rows enhance organic matter in the soil, reduce erosion and provide a suitable habitat for the development of natural insect predators. The farm also follows a programme of integrated pest management. Predators released in a special predator release programme, as well as naturally prevalent predators like guinea fowl and hadeda eat many of the problem insects on the farm. Perches have also been established for peregrine falcons and steppe buzzards that feed on grape-eating birds such as starlings.
Maintaining Healthy Riparian Buffers and Releasing Water for the wider community
Working together with Cape Nature and the Department of Water Affairs and after conducting an intense Environmental Impact assessment of the riverine system, Lomond was able to restore the natural flow of the Uilenskraal River running through the farm that had been previously choked up with alien vegetation. Not only was the riparian environment rehabilitated, increasing the sustainable breeding of invertebrates, but water from the river that previously ran into the sea has been directed into a 6 million cubic metre dam, established on the farm. The dam serves the irrigation needs of the farm as well as the local communities of De Kelders and Gansbaai via the local councils water purification works.
Lomond is a member of the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, please visit the site www.fynbos.co.za for further information surrounding the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest of the Worlds six floral kingdoms but home to the most indiginous plant species, found anywhere in the World.
Walkerbay Conservancy Membership
The Lomond off-road triathlon was held at the stunning Lomond Wine Estate just outside Gansbaai.
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