Nothing to declareI normally name a wine before it ends up in a barrel. This part comes naturally, seeing that my goal is capturing stories. These stories generate titles which turn into names. So, during the ageing of the wine, I did a chalk drawing on the one side of the barrel – an image of vine cuttings tied to a man’s leg and about to be covered by his pants. After a few months, the image faded. To solidify the image, I engraved it into the wood like it was done in the olden days. So in February 2015, after bottling the wine, I needed a label. I bought printing ink and applied it to the surface of the carved image. I then placed a large piece of paper on it and made a print, which became the main image for the label for NOTHING TO DECLARE 2014. The image captures the essence and spirit of the true origin of many of our leading grape varietals, Chardonnay being the most well known one. You need to realize that “back in the day”, it did happen that winemakers/farmers smuggled vines into the country…. read below for the full story.
NOTHING TO DECLARE 2014 – The whole story.
In the olden days, before our borders were opened for regular business, some of our leading winemakers at the time travelled to wine producing areas they admired. They mostly focused on areas with similar climatical/growing conditions to ours. Whenever they stumbled upon great wines made from varietals not grown in South Africa, they would try and get their hands on some clean plant material and (being of the less patient/more dynamic type) simply smuggled these vines into the country. They used various techniques, one of them being… tying it to your leg. Then drop your pants to cover it and walk through the NOTHING TO DECLARE section at the airport as if you have… NOTHING TO DECLARE – come on, you know the feeling…
Back in SA they would reproduce and plant little vineyards; do trials on them and plant larger ones (to state the obvious: this was completely illegal, distributing diseases being the main risk….). I, however, have seen first-hand that the type of farmer who went through all the effort to do this, is almost without fail completely passionate, super psyched-up, forward-thinking farmers/winemakers – serious producers. So they would, without doubt, bring in clean, great quality vines.
NOTHING TO DECLARE 2014 – A tribute to these vine smugglers. Giving us the foundation to take this industry to new heights.

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