Too many things have been in the way of writing this newsletter. Right now, it feels as if it should still be March or, at worst, May, but definitely not November. We started so many projects and so many things happened and changed that a good many good things just stayed undone. But, first things first.
You might have heard, somewhere, along the grapevine, that Kleinood has a new wine maker. It is all true and we are delighted to introduce you to Reynie Oosthuizen. Reynie joined the Kleinood team in October and will move to the farm, with his wife and two little daughters during December. In the short time he has been here, he has already rooted himself in the terroir of Kleinood with the establishment of a new vineyard block and planting vines he will now be able to call his own. His enthusiasm and commitment is contagious as is his sense of humour and big dreams for the task he has taken on.
“ Wine should give you a sense of place, not the winery, but the vineyard. The vineyard is where it really happens and this is where you need to be to make it happen. Creating a good wine is not about the accolades it carries on the bottle, but that the bottle should be empty before all the other wines on the table. Syrah is a beautifully versatile grape with amazing nuances. I want more people to drink, enjoy and understand it. I want it to be the first empty bottle on the table…”
The Kleinood gate is now open for tastings on first Saturdays. The first Saturday of every month now, not only brings wine aficionados, but happy wanderers, don- key feeders and much mirth to the farm. The tastings are presented by various members of the team that seem to have as much fun as the visitors.
With the 2012 harvest, of the small block of Mourvèdre, we found that this sensitive and fickle variety, which seldom produces a complete and balanced vintage, was different from previous years and something quite special. Although there are only 300 bottles, we saw it as a meevaller and decided to make something exciting of it. Thus, have now decided to make this very special little batch available from the farm. It will not happen every year, but only when we feel it is exceptional and something that can proudly bear the Kleinood sheep.
The (meevaller) 2012 shows a beautiful nose with marvellous aromas of cherry, raspberry, Turkish delight and rum & raisin. On the palate the entry is cool and crisp with sweet fruit, dark chocolate and well balanced, fine fresh tannins.
We refurbished the store in the compost yard to become a small residency for young artists, writers or musicians to work and live in for a period of time. We call it The Kleinood Komposjaart. It consists, only, of a bedroom and studio space. The space lends itself to all creative disciplines. The artists apply by putting forward a proposal for a body of work they wish to create and for which they would like to have space to work in, far from the madding crowd.
They have the farm as playground and the quiet solitude they need to come and do what they set out to do in the time that they are here. We only ask of them to do one workshop with school children from the area. We have hosted six artists so far and expect three more until the end of January. Stephanie Conradie was the first artist to visit and also created the artwork for the wrapping of the John Spicer Syrah 2013. Stephanie is a professional sculptor and print maker, lectures at the University of Stellenbosch while completing her PhD. So far it has been great fun and a lovely experience to see what they do and how they go about doing it.
With the residency, we have appointed a young curator, Heinrich Groenewald to take care of the artists’ needs and help them find spaces and galleries where they can exhibit and participate in events with other artists. Heinrich is also the curator at GUS-gallery in Stellenbosch and junior curator at MOMO in Cape Town.
For the Kleinood folk the forest has always been very special.
It is here, at the confluence of the Moordenaarskloof- and the Blaauwklippen rivers, where we find refuge from the sun on the gruelling summer days and where we go for peace and quiet over lunch times or after a busy day with always the sound of running water and deep, deep shade of Oaks, Poplars, Wild Olives, Assegaaibos, Wild Peach an Yellow Woods. This is where the bokkies and the porcupines roam and the odd baboon sometimes wanders around.
In 2005 a very special man, by the name of Aaron Bakana, came into our lives when he started making heart-shaped baskets for violets in our front garden. In 2010 he made us a beautiful sculptural piece of dancing people, again using only woven wattle branches. Over the years we have become friends, sharing books and ideas and working together on projects together. Now, 2018, Aaron went on to create a small animal kingdom to live in the forest…
Aaron Bakana was born on 22 March 1972 in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape.
Of his five siblings only one brother is still alive. He left school very early because there was no money and he had to help his parents to support the, then, large family. At the tender age of fourteen he worked on building sites and helped people of his community to build their houses and did odd gardening jobs. Eventually he moved down to Cape Town in search of better employment and found his home at Montebello.
“At Montebello there was a man from England who was weaving screens with Wattle branches. He taught me. I wove Wattle screens for a long time. It was just me then. I did not have a wife. I sent my money home to my family. Then I got a son. He is big now. He does not want to finish school. He wants to get a licence and be a driver. I want him to finish school. He must finish school, but the children don’t want to listen.
I met my wife a long time ago, but I did not have the money for the lobola. Then you gave me the commission to make the hearts for the garden. I paid the lobola for my wife with the money from the hearts. We have two children. We are very happy. I have my job. I am happy here at Montebello, working every day. Making things. Weaving.
I love weaving. When I was a child I watched the birds. I watched how they weave the nests. I wanted to weave like that. I liked to help my mother to weave grass mats to sell. I love making other things . Not only screens. I have many ideas that I think about.”
Maya Angelou, 1995
We, this people, on a small and lonely planet Travelling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders And children dress their dolls in flags of truce When land mines of death have been removed And the aged can walk into evenings of peace When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake By nightmares of abuse
When we come to it
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness That the heart falters in its labour
And the body is quieted into awe
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth a climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world That is when, and only when
We come to it.
These, then, are the things that filled our hearts and minds this year. We also made wine, harvested honey, made olive oil and verjus and gardened and planted and harvested and did all the wonderful things that keep you busy and happy on a farm. It is still raining in November. Everything is seductively green and utterly beautiful again. There are flowers and buds and young fruits everywhere. We have fresh eggs every day and artichokes for supper. How good can it all get? But, for now, this year is just about behind us and another year is lying ahead. It is for us to make the best or the worst of it…
We wish you a peaceful and blessed Christmas season