Stellenbosch Mountain viewed from the Pinotage bush vine vineyard at Vriesenhof
At Vriesenhof, the art of winemaking is a fascinating journey that begins in the vineyards and ends with the enjoyment that accompanies a raised glass. Follow this journey and you will most certainly pause for reflection in the solitude of the Vriesenhof cellars. Traditional wood maturation methods combine effortlessly with modern fermentation processes. Add to this an ageing process that takes place in a setting disturbed only by the patient ticking of the clock and the artistry of the winemaker at work and you'll soon understand why Vriesenhof consistently delivers wines of true Stellenbosch origin.
'One's footsteps must be in the soil,
you must understand the soil,
the plant and the climate.'
Jan 'Boland' Coetzee
Jan 'Boland' Coetzee
Stellenbosch has always inspired me. It's where I was educated, learned the great game of rugby, started a family and made many friends. It is also where I have come to fulfill my passion and fascination for the noble art of winemaking.
It all began in 1980 when I purchased the farm Vriesenhof in the Paradyskloof Valley. Together with my team I set about cultivating plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinotage and Pinot Noir. Today these plantings produce two very diverse ranges of wines under the labels of Vriesenhof and Paradyskloof.
Jan 'Boland' Coetzee is respected not only for his pioneering winemaking spirit and outstanding rugby career, but also for his contribution to the social upliftment of vineyard staff. His belief in 'always performing to the best of one's ability' has led him to take a personal commitment to ensuring their ongoing personal growth and well-being.
My journey towards the art of winemaking was inspired by my father and guided by Jan Boland Coetzee. Through his patience and with his mentorship I have started my journey, exploring the diversity of Stellenbosch, the haunting beauty of Pinot Noir and the elegance and refinement of Chardonnay.
My journey has taken me to France to refine my skill with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. I have travelled to the heart of British Columbia to savour different nuances of Pinot Noir and to gain experience with delicate white varietals. Yet I know that my journey has just begun, many different horizons await me in the future as I explore my art, but I know for a fact that my heart resides at the foot of the Stellenbosch mountain, at Vriesenhof.
The south facing slopes of the vineyards of the vineyards give Vriesenhof all the advantages needed to produce wines of exceptional character and quality. Situated at varying altitudes, they are exposed to the cool coastal breezes from False Bay, their soils consisting mostly of decomposed granite and Malmesbury shale.The hilltop is home to Pinotage bush vines, the rich shale soil enhancing the fruity flavours in the Pinotage grapes.
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It's official, Spring is here... Though given the inclement weather and the fact that we've had snow in September the past 2 years it's probably too soon to break out the summer clothes.
In the vineyards, the early ripening Chardonnay vines are showing their first new growth of the season and it won't be long before the other cultivars start their growth cycles.