The Captivating Capelands and doing more than just making wine they are ‘putting back’ too
If there is one region in the world where you can find differing climates, different soils, different terrains, fantastic scenery and differing winemaking practices it is the beautiful, bountiful, Western Cape of South Africa.
I love it so and recently took my manager Lee, to celebrate his 25 years working with me to show him and boy, was he ‘converted’? I took him and my partner [also ‘converted’!] to meet some of the wine producers who have become my friends over the last 20 years. It was super to learn that all of them are doing something as ‘pay back’ for what the earth, countryside and region is giving them.
There are those who have now reached dizzy heights of acclaim such as Gary & Kathy Jordan who I met in 1995 soon after they started exporting to the UK and they were featured in one of my very first articles for Countryside La Vie back in 2010. Jordan Winery – www.jordanwines.com – sponsor 2 botanists a year to do research in the flora and fauna on the farm in particular the small chameleons regularly found on the plants and shrubs.
There was also Delheim’s Spatz Sperling – www.delheim.com -who, now in his 80’s, was a founding father of The Wine Route and I was flattered he asked to come and meet us for lunch. We last met about 15 years ago and it was such a privilege being in the company of a real wine legend. Victor his son, is in charge of the marvellous ‘green ecology’ they are now operating so that almost all of the vast gallons of water used in wine-making is re-cycled and returned to the land.
Another winery to watch out for is Waterkloof – www.waterkloofwines.co.za – where owner Paul Boutinot, who is of English & French descent, is using bio-dynamic methods. Paul I have known for 30 years and is has been his passion for a long time to have such a wine farm. Here they addressed the
virgin condition of the soil from the start using different natural fertilisers from horses, cows, chickens etc. and wormeries to combat any disease and poor vine conditions. It has taken time but now, only using horses to work the land, they are seeing the proof of their toil. I found it quite fascinating and learnt that my own garden has been bio-dynamic for years – ha ha ha.
A fascinating man and again a friend for over 20 years, is Jeremy Borg. Jeremy and Emma have Painted Wolf Wines – www.paintedwolfwines.com – where from the very start they were dedicated to the plight of the worlds most threatened species of carnivore, The Wild Dogs in South Africa. Jeremy will be doing a major sponsored bike ride in the UK this May to raise money for TUSK the major African Wine Life organisation. He will be at George Hill on Tuesday 24th May showing his wines at a charity event for TUSK. If you are interested in coming along or simply sending a donation please contact me at the address below.
Last but in no way least is Cape Chamonix – www.chamonix.co.za – who I wrote about in Edition No 86. Their chief winemakers, the lovely Gottfried Mocke was recently acclaimed as best winemaker in South Africa by no less than the famous wine writer Tim Atkin. I have watched Gottfried quietly make a name for himself particularly for their Pinot Noir which now ranks in the same class as some top Burgundy from France. He has never changed despite the fame and acclaim, so typical of the majority of winemakers I have met over the years.
This is just a short snapshot of the quite delightful country and region. The people are a joy and never once in the 16 trips I have made have I ever felt ‘ripped off’ or threatened. I really do suggest you go and find out yourself if ever you get the chance. By the way, all the photos in this article were taken by my partner and it has been difficult to select from the over 500 that were taken. Such happy memories.
Remember Wine Drinking should be FUN -
[Do always remember to drink responsibly]
Image 1:Delheim - The Harvest is in, Victor with Andrew & Lee
Image 2: Cape Chamonix - Gottfried Andrew & Lee