February was a slow month for my projects… four cancellations due to snow and illness made the month go by with almost no progress. But then our vacation to South Africa arrived, and I realized there would be no snow days to cancel a shoot, so I decided to find a “hands on” participant from the Southern Hemisphere to make some progress before the month closed.
We were heading to the area around Cape Town, which is known for its wines, so I did a bit of research on winemakers who are getting some acclaim in the area. I found Chamonix, a winery in the Franschhoek region, which was established in 1991. In addition to the wine farm, Chamonix bottles water, has accommodations, and its own private game reserve.
Chamonix winemaker, Gottfried Mocke, spent time at wineries in both Germany and Oregon before joining Chamonix. I reached out to Gottfried via email and he wrote back immediately saying he was willing to participate in my project. Gottfried has been the winemaker at Chamonix since September 2001 and has seen much success with the wines on the farm. He was named the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year in 2006, and his wines have won numerous awards.
Despite the fact that he was in the middle of the harvest, Gottfried graciously brought me into the operations to capture some images of his team sorting grapes, punching the cap of skins, as well as images of Gottfried himself checking the 2015 Chardonnay, which was fermenting in the barrel. When I asked him about his favorite spot on the property, Gottfried brought me to the private tasting room, where I captured him with an older vintage bottle.
After the shoot, I caught up with my husband Doug, who was also enjoying Chamonix hospitality…in the tasting room. We tasted the red wine range, and determined that the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Franc blend, Troika, would be excellent additions to our wine cellar, much to the chagrin of US Customs – a story for another day!
Many thanks go out to Gottfried and his team for being gracious hosts. If you are heading to South Africa, I suggest a stop at Chamonix. Their website is www.chamonix.co.za. I highly recommend it!