Saronsberg Cellar Does It Again

For the second time in five years Saronsberg Cellar took the top honours at the 2015 SAWi Wine Awards. This is indeed a sterling achievement amongst top wine competitors. In 2010 they first received the trophy for winery of the year before having won the trophy for best red wine producer in 2013.

Nestled in the picturesque Tulbagh valley, vineyards are in a bowl surrounded by imposing mountain ranges, with the Obiqua Mountains to the west, the Winterhoek Mountains in die north and the Witzenberg Mountains to the east. The Southern side of the valley is open to cooling south-east winds during the hot summer months. Accordingly Tulbagh enjoys some of the most diverse and attractive conditions for viticulture in the Cape and the differences in terroir available to wine makers allow for a wide diversity of distinctive wines of excellence, attributes which have attracted many new producers to the valley.

Three wines in particular stands out with the Saronsberg Full Circle Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier topping the SAWi best red wine list, closely followed by the Saronsberg Shiraz and Saronsberg Provenance Range Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec Petit Verdot Bordeaux Blend. These wines indeed carry their weight amongst quality wine achievements worldwide.

Top SAWi Achiever – A Firmly Rooted (Wine) Farmer

Land and landscapes reflect a living synthesis of people and place, combining physical origins with a cultural overlay. Site specific wines do the same.

How does this apply to winemaking, or more specifically, what makes a particular wine distinctive? Considering the track record of one such wine, the Saronsberg Full Circle Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier, which has consistently achieved the highest accolade a South African red wine can, Dewaldt Heyns, its architect, explains:

“A good winemaker must be a farmer first, intimately linked to the soil. He must begin in the vineyard and decide for himself how he intends to farm – choosing the best methods, and considering if others would do it differently? You can’t copy anything – after all, what you have is bound to be unique.”

Dewaldt applies this approach to each block of land which will ultimately provide its own unique style that goes with the area. From here the challenge remains to always focus on the detail, bearing in mind the ultimate aim of establishing a top brand.

This starts from the moment the soil is turned right through harvest and until the wine is in the bottle. Taking no short cuts, he likes to work slowly and carefully, nurturing each element to ensure that no mistake crops up.
“You can’t easily correct mistakes later,” he shares, “and if you try the wines you create will never stand the test of time. The buck starts and ends with the same person. Decisions can’t be delegated. An attitude to excel can’t be compromised.

All winemakers are dealt similar cards in terms of allocated land. Everything should be done right from the start. Mistakes occur when focus is lost. Ultimately, a wine must find favour with you as its overseer. If so, it will always give consistency and quality. There is no end to what elegance a wine can give as long as you know that you must live in close harmony to what you were given.”

Dewaldt has continued to imitate his achievements, with Saronsberg having again received the High-End Red Wine Trophy and overall Trophy and top honours at the 2015 SAWi Wine Awards.