EVENTUALLY the rains came. By late May and early June wine farmers - like the whole Western Cape agriculture sector - were becoming worried about the impending drought. Except for a few teaspoons-full, no real rain had fallen since August last year.

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Dams were dry, soils were parched and nature was thirsty.  Fortunately the month of June began with a bite in the air, a flutter of northerly wind and then the clouds moved in bringing sheets of gorgeous rain. I could almost hear the vines breathing a sigh of relief, and for three days we had about 100mm. Not bad if you consider that the average rainfall in the Robertson region is 350mm.  Winter It is one of my favourite times on Rietvallei. Walking in the brisk, cold air among the empty gnarled vines is as rejuvenating for the farmer's soul as it is for the vine. You are welcome to come and experience this season on our farm - there is always something warm!