Special Edition 9

Exclusive to Lay & Wheeler

The Franschhoek Cuckoo

Technical Information:

Producer: Confidential
The Wine: 55% Sauvignon
45% Semillon
Vintage: 2013
Wine of Origin: Franschhoek
Alcohol: 14%
Bottles: 600 bottles

Piet-My-Vrou. Piet-My-Vrou… Listen. Isn’t that a Red Breasted Cuckoo…?’ asked Rick. ‘Apparently you hear them, but you never see them…’


One day, last June, Rick was standing amid the tanks and barrels of a certain Franschhoek cellar, contemplating the new vintage with the young winemaker who stood, captivated by every word of his one-time mentor.  In the background was the distant hypnotic rhythm of a bottling machine. Consumed by the aromas of the latest Sauvignon/Semillon blend, the calm of the cave was abruptly ended by the sound of a sudden commotion.

‘Boss, boss, boss, come quick. The tank’s too big…’ What our distressed friend actually meant was ‘Boss, we’ve run out of bottles…’

Piet-my-Vrou’ whispered the exasperated cellarmaster. ‘We’re about 600 bottles short. What do we do now…?’

Ever the opportunist, Rick instinctively points to the pallet of bottles in the corner.

‘See those screw-tops. Stick the balance of your White Blend in there, and I’ll find a good home for them. No problem…’

Half an hour later…

‘Thanks. You’ve saved us from a potential headache. I’m not sure what we would have done with the rest of that tank. Are you going to Liberate it, Rick…?’

Rick carefully considers his response. ‘I think I’ll have to. No other option for it, really and…’ he pauses, ‘we should call it The Franschhoek Cuckoo’.

Afrikaans Lesson #187: – Piet-My-Vrou. The colloquial Afrikaans name for the Red Breasted Cuckoo termed, onomatopoeically, after the birds’ own call. It translates into English as ‘Pete My Wife’. It’s also occasionally used as a minor expletive…