Every January since 2018, Ray reports for duty to the cellar on Kalmoesfontein. From that moment he is in boot camp as the grape harvest is a very physical hands on job. Working under Adi Badenhorst and Hanneke Krüger is an interesting blend of chaos and precision, excitement and exhaustion, fun and fact...
This year the harvest arrived late to the Swartland with most blocks only ripening on average 10-14 days later than previous years. That just means that when the grape do hit that sweet spot, they all hit together. There were a lot of very long days in February as Ray would leave the house before sunrise and arrive back, sweaty and sticky, long after dark.
But they have lots of fun through it all, and a good vibe is a key component of any AA Badenhorst Wine. And the team is a powerhouse of personalities.
Like Keiji aka Cage, the Japanese chef and restaurateur who vowed to come for a harvest five years ago, then did, and has returned every harvest since (and in 2020 spent something like 270odd days on the farm due to travel restrictions). Always up for anything he is, or as he'll say "why not?"
There's tiny Tol the only full time cellar employee, who quietly goes about his business of making sure every box is ticked (and washed and ready). His father Fortuin, who retired recently, was Kalmoesfontein's first employee when the Badenhorsts moved there in 2007 and he certainly keeps the family name flying high.
Apparently Ray brings the gees (the vibe, for lack of a better english word) and keeps the energy high with jokes and dance moves (while also acting as self appointed DJ in charge of the large collection of LPs).
And this year's intern, a local lass, Selma is a hoot. Hard working and hard hitting, always ready with a chirp and never afraid to get dirty. Go Rockies!
Together they moved around 350 tons of grapes through the cellar... that's a lot of kussies... hats off guys, looking forward to the wines!