Vriesenhof Shows New Set of Feathers

Vriesenhof Vineyards, one of Stellenbosch’s premier wine producers, has released a new easy-drinking range focusing on the more relaxed aspects of the wine-orientated lifestyle. The range falls under the estate’s Paradyskloof label named after the majestic valley in Stellenbosch Mountain bordering the Helderberg.

Comprising a Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Rosé and Red Blend, the range sports an enchanting new-look Paradyskloof label based on the feathers of a male peacock. When Jan Boland Coetzee purchased the Vriesenhof farm in Paradyskloof, a lonely male peacock had already taken-up residence on the estate and was a well-known and colourful feature on the property before passing away a few years later in a state of committed bachelordom.

“The poor guy had no one to show-off his feathers to,” says Jan, “so we decided to honour him with this new range of wines based on the peacock’s original feather structure.”

Nicky Claasens, winemaker at Vriesenhof and custodian of the Paradyskloof range, says the new offering is based on wines that are distinctly Stellenbosch wines of origin at accessible price points to the everyday wine drinker.

“The ethos of Vriesenhof is based on Stellenbosch, with all our wines showing a commitment to terroir and a sense of place,” he says. “We truly believe that the wine consumer is recognising South Africa’s regional diversity and the various wine quality found within them, with Stellenbosch being seen as the country’s premier wine growing area. The aim of this collection is therefore to offer terroir-driven Stellenbosch wines made to styles as accessible as the price points.”

The Grenache Rosé and Red Blend are both made using grapes grown on selected sites on the Vriesenhof property.

“Young Grenache vines, planted due south, are ideal for Rosé in a dry style with that evocative onion-skin hue,” says Claasens. “The juice is bled off after an hour or two, but contact is long enough to add a line of complexity and structure to the Rosé, whose overall appeal is freshness and drinkability.”

Grenache grapes from Vriesenhof terroir also plays the lead role in the Paradyskloof 2015 red blend, making-up 56% of the wine along with, Mourvedre (24%) and Shiraz (20%).

Maturation in old wood vats adds an appealing overall spiciness to this wine which exudes succulent black-fruit and plum notes, wrapped in a veil of soft tannins. “An added bonus is to release this maiden version from the 2015 vintage, which was absolutely superb,” says Claasens.

The South African public’s seeming insatiable thirst for Sauvignon Blanc led to the Paradyskloof Sauvignon Blanc 2016 made from grapes grown on the south-westerly slopes of Stellenbosch. The wine is made to a fresh style combining gripping pyrazine notes of cut-grass and asparagus with a hint of sunny summer fruit.

The wine is available from the farm at R 65.00 per bottle and should be available in retail stores from the beginning of October.  Should you need more info contact the farm on (021) 880 0284 or send an email to info@vriesenhof.co.za.

New Tasting Room Manager

Ursula Engelbrecht

Ursula Engelbrecht

We, at Vriesenhof, are delighted to introduce Ursula Engelbrecht as our new receptionist and tasting room manager. Her journey to where she is today started in the vineyards, working hard and eager to learn. Her passion and dedication was soon noticed and she went from farmhand to cellar rat during harvest.

She quickly gained insight into the operations and techniques of winemaking, giving her a unique understanding of the complete process from the vine to the finished product in the bottle. Due to her diligence and hard work she was fortunate enough to join the Exchange programme for farmworkers to Burgundy in 2006 which allowed her to broaden her knowledge of winemaking.

After her return from Burgundy she volunteered to help out during wine festivals and soon realised that her true passion lies in the interaction with people. Her ability to explain the complete process of winemaking, coupled with the fact that she had a hand in every aspect of the wine lent an exciting aspect to her story. All these factors, along with her beautiful personality, makes her an ideal person to receive people at Vriesenhof and showcase our exquisite wines.

Ursula is also a member of “Woman in Wine” – a black owned wine producing company, controlled and managed exclusively by women. She is also a trustee of the Meerlust Workers Trust, which is part of MWT Investments (Pty) Ltd t/a Compagniesdrift – a black empowerment business, specialising in wine storage, bottling and labelling.

When not working, Ursula enjoys singing, dancing and reading a good book.

Our Tasting room is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 – 16:00 and on Fridays from 10:00 – 15:30

Spring in the Vineyards

                     VRIESENHOF PINOT NOIR 2010 & 2013 MAGNUMS

                     VRIESENHOF PINOT NOIR 2010 & 2013 MAGNUMS

It is hard to believe that we are in the first week of October; the cold mornings are more reminiscent of autumn than spring. Not that we are complaining, the mild weather is very conducive to growth, allowing the vines to grow rapidly without any stress. The only negative about this time of year is the fact that we are well outside of our raining season. For we need rain, lots of rain. This winter has left us feeling a bit disappointed from a certain perspective, we have had very little rain and even less snow, which is something we greatly desire.

I digress, the cold, dry winter has given us a nearly perfect start to the growing season with very even bud-break. Most of the vineyards are heading for their second round of treatment, protection against powdery mildew as the morning fog and pleasant afternoons are perfect conditions for some unwanted pests. Our teams are slowly starting the first round of suckering, clearing the new growth from the stems and unwanted positions on the arms of the vines. 

This as most of you know will happen periodically for the next few months to make sure that the growing vine exerts energy in the right areas, not with unwanted vegetative growth. The Chardonnay and pinot noir inflorescence have already developed and it looks like we could be expecting a rather large crop this season, weather permitting. Prof. Archer has also gone out on a bit of a limb and with tongue in cheek stated that we might be harvesting seven days later this than this year. Seeing as harvest was in full swing by the end of the first week of January, this was not seen as a great foretelling.

                                   Chardonnay Inflourescence

                                   Chardonnay Inflourescence

The other highlight of October was the annual Cape Winemakers Guild auction that was held on the 4th of October 2015. The creams of the proverbial crop of South African winemakers were showcasing what they saw as their best wines to the world. A surprise twist of this auction was the high number of private buyers that was present, allowing for amazing rather flamboyant bidding running rampant during the first half of the auction. Jan Boland had two vintage of the Pinot noir on auction, the 2010 and the 2013. He was pleased with the fact that the wines were bought by both the buyers from Tsogo Sun and the One&Only hotel groups.  

As for the cellar staff, well they are slowly getting the cellar into shape for the new harvest. Some new vintages have been bottled, most notably the Vriesenhof Grenache 2014, Vriesenhof Pinot noir 2014 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 2012 and 2011 which will be the next vintage made available to the public.