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Oak Valley

Oak Valley

by Christopher Rawbone-Viljoen

Let’s Celebrate International Pinot Noir Day

A toast to our burgundy baboons

The advent of International Pinot Noir Day reminded me of a great story the old man has told many times in the days when Pieter Visser was still the winemaker on Oak Valley.

We grow our best quality grapes on our south facing mountain vineyards on the Groenlandberg.

Besides the challenges posed by the climate and the steep terrain on this site, we also contend with troops of marauding baboons, who have refined their tastes to show a preference for our Pinot Noir.

We eventually nicknamed these costly bandites the Burgundy Baboons.

To give protection to our ripening grapes we employ 3 gaurds during harvest to keep the baboons away from our vineyards. In line with our conservation ethic, the mandate is to cause no harm, but to hold them off using natural scare tactics.

Easier said than done, as baboons are extremely intelligent and employ guerrilla tactics by splitting the troop into smaller groups to raid from different directions.

On one occasion, one of the guards became so frustrated with the cunning of the troop that he picked up a stone and lobbed it at the alpha.

To his surprise, the baboons in the troop started picking up stones and proceeded to bombard him from short range, leaving him black and blue and very much the downhearted loser.

So enjoy your glass of Oak Valley Pinot Noir, it’s a product born of nature, made with great integrity, fortitude and several plump bruises!

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