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BEVERAGES: Graham Beck Sparkling Wine Cellar Expands


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Growing market demand for quality sparkling wine has seen Graham Beck Wines expand its flagship Robertson cellar to a total storage capacity of over 2 million bottles of premium Méthode Cap Classique.

Some 6,000 cubic meters of space has been added to the purpose-built Cap Classique cellar, Madeba 3. “Our storage capacity will enable us to store all of our sparkling wines on-site, according to our own strict specifications,” says project supervisor and Graham Beck Estates Manager Louis Jordaan. Cellar Master Peter Ferreira explains further: “With the extra capacity, we will be able to increase the time on the lees for extra complexity and texture; something that we have always aspired to accomplish.”

Temperature controlled and fitted with world-class technology, the new space is set to house bottled ‘base’ wines as they undergo secondary fermentation, and maturation for two to six years before their release. “Temperature control is especially important in the second fermentation phase of Méthode Cap Classique. We’ve dug out part of the cellar below ground level to enable natural cooling, reducing our use of electricity,” says Louis.

Other moves include positioning the facility close to the bottling line to limit bottle handling; and to the same end, storing the wines in special crates that will later be used for remuage or riddling; the slow inversion of bottles to move the yeast cells to the bottle neck.

Additional investments have been made in clone-specific Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plantings and a new Italian Makro self-adhesive labelling machine; the first of its kind in South Africa. The application process enables perfect alignment of labels – traditionally a challenge with Méthode Cap Classique bottles, optimising the finishing of these award-winning, signature bubblies from Graham Beck Wines.

Expected completion date for the storage facility is April 2011. Usage will commence with the new vintage bottling from July 2011.

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