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In this month's news from Asara: July - August 2018

11 July 2018  -  Asara Wine Estate & Hotel

There's an air of energy and excitement in the wine cellar following the appointment of Johan Joubert as Cellar Master, a Veggie Guru joins the garden team, we're cutting out plastic, an invitation to the Ball, and more.

At Asara Wine Estate & Hotel we regard our staff as our biggest asset. Apart from the challenges we face, each department has wonderful stories to share and achieves many successes - often without sharing them. Bells & Whistles is a monthly newsletter - for the staff, by the staff which aims to give a voice to the Asara team, and to enjoy and celebrate good news in our own quirky way. Please enjoy this edition and remember to share your stories and ideas with us.

A new vision in the cellar
There’s a new air of energy and excitement in the Asara wine cellar following the appointment in June of Johan Joubert as Cellar Master.

Johan is already a familiar figure at Asara having worked for the past two years as a consultant to the wine-making team, and having represented Asara at international wine exhibitions alongside Estate Manager Pete Gottgens and Winery Manager Sam Wiid.

Johan is a member of the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild and a highly-regarded figure in the SA wine industry. He has worked previously as winemaker at Muratie, Boland Cellar and Kleine Zalze, and has produced many award winning wines throughout his career. He has also received a number of remarkable personal accolades, including the 2001 Robert Mondavi Trophy for International Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in Bordeaux.

Johan brings a broad vision to his new role, ranging from a meticulous analysis of soils and vineyards to an in-depth understanding of the end consumer, and maintains that the wine consumer must always feel that he or she is getting an ‘over-supply’ of quality relative to price. He has a self-described ‘obsession’ with granite-based soils and their potential to create special wines, and points out happily that the soils at Asara are almost entirely granite-based.

Mr Gottgens says: “Johan’s appointment is an important step for Asara wines and our ongoing commitment to quality. Johan combines hands-on attention to detail with an innovative and strategic approach to the Asara wine portfolio, and we look forward to great things to come.”

No more plastic
It’s more and more evident that the widespread use of plastic, and the resulting ‘plastic pollution’, is an environmental disaster, both on land and in the oceans.

For that reason Asara has notified all suppliers that as of the 31st of October we will no longer accept deliveries of goods in single-use plastic containers, or goods wrapped in plastic, and that we will be happy to work together to facilitate whatever changes need to be made.

This will effect mainly housekeeping (laundry deliveries are currently wrapped in plastic) and the kitchen.

The use of plastic water bottles was discontinued a few months ago. A move away from plastic is essential from an environmental standpoint, and this decision is in line with Asara’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Veggie guru joins garden team
We have a new vegetable garden expert, Susan Torrance, helping Head Gardener Tommy and his team with the Asara veggie garden, and there are some exciting changes in store for coming months. Sue is an experienced vegetable gardener, and supplier to a number of restaurants, and understands how to manage a veggie garden so as to generate a consistent supply of fresh, seasonal vegetables and herbs.

Plans for the Asara veggie patch include a doubling in size, and the addition of an interesting variety of veggies and herbs to the line-up, including asparagus, many varieties of tomatoes and carrots, purple peas, purple beans, artichokes, and yellow courgettes, among others.

Sue is a proponent of ‘heirloom’ seeds, and the team will set up a potting shed and seed bank so that Asara can generate its own ongoing supply of these non-GMO ‘pure’ veggie seeds. No chemicals or pesticides will be used in the veggie garden, but the team will instead rely on ‘companion planting’ as a natural form of pest control. (As when, for example, tomato and basil are planted close together, which has the added benefit of enhancing flavour.) Sue says: “I’m looking forward to working with Tommy and the team to provide a regular supply of fresh, flavourful vegetables and herbs straight from the veggie garden to the kitchen and plate.”

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