To anyone who has not been on the full “Paradise Rescued journey”, this blog is going to seem somewhat amusing. To almost everyone neither on nor close to the team, the decision process would have seemed easy? But given where we have come from and our initial expectations of what we might achieve relative to what has since been accomplished, this is actually a very significant moment.

Spring time view across Hourcat Sud from Cherry Tree corner

                  Spring time view across Hourcat Sud – the home of Paradise Rescued Cabernet Franc – from Cherry Tree corner

First the confession! As you all know, from our consistent dedication to our mission, our reason for existence is based very very strongly around sustaining the rural heritage of our wonderful Cardan Bordeaux village and safeguarding the land around us as a productive vineyard to export fine wine. Producing an elite super premium unique Cabernet Franc was not on our initial radar screens. At the time of the signing of the purchase contract, no one even knew that was our first block was even planted in Cabernet Franc. As it happened we set a strong vision and mission, did a few things right and together with an inspirational dedicated vineyard / winery team plus incredible innovation in our marketing group, a unique wine and brand is steadily being created. Joy!

The second confession! If and when you study our Hourcat Sud Cabernet Franc block, it has a few challenges in terms of its terroir orientation, drainage, row spacing etc. Everyone who surveyed it advised us to dig it up and replant in some other configuration and variety, etc…… A lack of confidence, timing and initial cautious goals pushed us into simply taking the easy way out and make that initial first 2010 vintage, which because of its amazing quality has changed our view of the future completely. We can’t reshape or replant the block in the short term as our business would simply stop for ten years and we would have many many unhappy customers. Dilemma!

The conundrum! As a team, we discussed strategies, options, plans, almost everything. Hourcat Sud must persist, succeed, prosper and develop until we have developed sufficient CabFranc production capacity close by to enable us to redevelop this block somewhere in the future. The demand for our varietal CabFranc increases daily and with only small fine quantities in 2012 and 2013, demand now significantly exceeds supply.

The plan is to extend the CabFranc block further down the slope, replacing  part of the unused section of table grapes.

     The plan will extend the CabFranc block, replacing some of the table grapes

So the solution! Finally Pascale solved the puzzle, whilst we stood amongst vines waiting patiently for bud burst! We will firstly replant all the current holes and missing vines in the CabFranc (and Merlot) blocks this spring at the same time as we implement the full replanting of the vacant part of the Hourcat Centre block. Secondly we will develop a plan to extend the CabFranc block at the South West corner of the Hourcat Sud block. Although this will require us to remove some of the unused unloved (except by the birds!!) table grape vines, we will be able to add +/- 0,075 ha of new vines and increase our beautiful CabFranc output by about 15%.

At a strategic level, what this actually means is that the next thirty years of varietal Cabernet Franc will be sustained. Some of the vines will then be 50 years old and effectively I have abdicated the decision to my daughter Lauren to come up with a better solution. But then possibly with an ongoing progressive replacement through natural attrition when odd vines die, we can sustain this Cabernet Franc paradise for many many years to come. Hourcat Sud is and will remain the home of Paradise Rescued Cabernet Franc.

Decision made! Time to get out the drawings and mark up the changes. Game plan set, let’s make it happen!