The winemaker

SHARE   |   Monday, 10 August 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Nong Nong

The owner of Nong wines, Jeff Nong, started his wine farm in 2011 after acquiring the land and the vines to go with.  His first harvest was last year. At the moment he is just aging what he harvested last year and this will run for three years. The process, he said, start with planting the vines, and then pruning them after a year. They are harvested taking into consideration the sugar level content which is tested to make sure that it is at an appropriate level. From there the process of distilling will start. He will start selling his wines from his grapes for the first time next year. Currently he is buying grapes from other people since his have not yet matured.

He said the wine grapes are extremely sweet, because that sugar is very important in brewing the best wines, which is why they have to make sure that they test the sugar level before harvesting them. “From the sugar that is where we get the alcohol, and table grapes are not that sweet said,” he said. He said sometimes another thing that people are not always familiar with is that the wines are named after the grapes, and that grapes grown for winemaking have different names among them chiraz, cabernet, Chenin Blanc, and many others. At his farm he has two types of grapes, and both are white.

He is yet to pick names for his wines. To him, the bottom line is that whenever you name the wine you put into consideration which grape has been used. He said he is just an avid wine drinker who distinguishes bad wine from fine wine, where pinotage and chiraz are his best. He said grapes are important in determining the quality of wine; which means bad grapes, bad wine. They usually harvest mid-February to early March in the south while in the north is early September until early November. On what inspired him to get into the business of wine making, Nong said that to him it is all about passion.

He said it needs patience because in the first years he is not going to be making money. “This is a lifetime investment because best wine cellars in the world are making a lot of money because of their aged brews,” he said. Currently Nong distributes red muscadel, red jerepigo, hanepoot, Chenin Blanc, blumchen, pinotage and cabernet sauvignon which they make with the grapes they buy. Soon they will be using their grown grapes. His company is based in Potchefstroom in South Africa.