Cape Epic 2017

Cape Epic 2017

The Absa Cape Epic is an annual mountain bike stage race held in the Western Cape, South Africa. It has been accredited as hors categorie (beyond categorisation) by the Union Cycliste Internationale. First staged in 2004, the race typically covers more than 700 kilometres (435 miles), and lasts eight days – a prologue and seven stages. The Absa Cape Epic attracts elite professional mountain bikers from around the world, who compete in teams of two. To qualify for a finish, teams have to stay together for the duration of the race. The race is also open to amateurs, who enter a lottery in order to gain a slot. A total of 600 teams take part. The times taken to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winning team in each category at the end of the race. The course changes every year, but the race has always taken place in the Western Cape. The Absa Cape Epic was described by Bart Brentjens, 1996 Olympic gold medallist in mountain biking and a former Absa Cape Epic winner, as the “Tour de France of mountain biking”.
The 2017 route will take riders through 691 km of Western Cape countryside and up a lot of hills: the accumulated vertical gain over the eight days will be 15 400m.

Photographer: Sandro Tasso Wide Angle photo Studio Franschhoek

Olympus Ambassador South Africa

Camera: Olympus OM-D EM-1 mark II lens: Zuiko 300mm f4 Pro

Destemming

Destemming time at Boekenhoutskloof Wine Farm Franschhoek

Destemming time at Boekenhoutskloof Wine Farm Franschhoek

The harvesting of wine grapes is one of the most crucial steps in the process of winemaking. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce. The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes and bring about various vine diseases. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, winemakers and vineyard owners must also determine whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters. The harvest season typically falls between August & October in the Northern Hemisphere and February & April in the Southern Hemisphere. With various climate conditions, grape varieties, and wine styles the harvesting of grapes could happen in every month of the calendar year somewhere in the world.

After the grapes are sorted, they are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. For many years, men and women did this manually by stomping the grapes with their feet. Nowadays, most wine makers perform this mechanically. Mechanical presses stomp or trod the grapes into what is called must. Must is simply freshly pressed grape juice that contains the skins, seeds, and solids. Mechanical pressing has brought tremendous sanitary gain as well as increased the longevity and quality of the wine.

The destemmer, which is a piece of winemaking machinery that does exactly what it says, removes the stems from the clusters and lightly crushes the grapes.

Modern crushing and destemming machines consist of a large steel or aluminum trough with a screw in the bottom. As the screw turns the grapes are gently squeezed and pulled from the stems at the same time. Out one end pops the stem and out the other is your elixir of life (to be). 

For white wine, the wine maker will quickly crush and press the grapes in order to separate the juice from the skins, seeds, and solids. This is to prevent unwanted color and tannins from leaching into the wine. Red wine, on the other hand, is left in contact with the skins to acquire flavor, color, and additional tannins.

Shot in Franschhoek at Boekenhoutskloof Wine Farm

Gear: Olympus OM-D EM-1 mark II

Lenses: Zuiko 25mm f1.2 PRO | Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 PRO