When the stars align for great wine…

To end off #womensmonth this year, we’d like to tell you a story of when a few stars aligned in the Swartland skies. 

Franziska in a Pedro Valse vineyard she planted in 2015. Photo from Daréll Lourens’ Postcards from a vine series.

Franziska Wickens (néé Schreiber) is the third generation to farm on Waterval in the Siebritskloof valley of the Paardeberg. When her paternal grandparents bought the property in 1947 the old cellar was still there but, as the story goes with many of the Swartland farms, back then most of the region’s grapes went straight to the Coop, and her grandpa farmed with poultry. 

As a result of her German heritage Franziska attended the Cape Town German School and when her grade one class was asked to complete an assignment about what they wanted to be when you got older, little Franziska wrote (in German) “ When I’m old I want to be a farmer and farm with chickens”… This she attributes to the fact that as kids they got to play with the little chicks, a favourite pastime for the Schreiber sisters. 

Around 2005 however the family started to rent their facilities to Country Fair and stopped farming with chickens and started to look after the old vines and vineyards on the property. This coincided with that period during which high school students need to make decisions about ‘what to do with their lives’ so Fransziska went to Elsenburg to study viticulture with a focus on cellar management.

Oh how the stars aligned, cause every time Franziska would return home to the valley where she grew up there was something new and exciting happening, as more and more young hip (well, she said ‘hot’) winemakers started to flock to the Swartland. 

A few hectares away, on Kalmoesfontein, Adi Badenhorst was settling with his young family and his assistant winemaker in particular caught Franziska’s eye. Jasper Wickens worked with Adi from 2009 and was also almost always the guy who started (and finished) the party. Over the next few years, as the Swartland Revolution gathered strength (and a global following) so did the romance between Franziska and Jasper. They got married in 2016 under an oak canopy overlooking thé waterfall for which the farm has its name (Waterval = Afrikaans for waterfall…) 

Mr & Mrs Wickens on their wedding day on the farm.

Exactly 10 years after he had first moved to the Paardeberg (dubbed ‘Partyberg’ under his guide) Jasper completed his last harvest (2018 vintage) on Kalmoesfontein while Franziska got the old new cellar ready for his move. 

Today she works tirelessly to supply quality grapes to a long list of clients, including SIP members Jasper (obviously), JH Meyer, AA Badenhorst, Riebeeks River and The Blacksmith Wines, as well as Ryan Mostert’s Terracura, Paul Jordaan’s Bosberaad, John Secombe, Samantha Suddons’ Vinevenom and Marras Wines to name a few.

She believes in long term relationships, in order to work with the winemaker, planning and playing around through trials and tribulations, to find what works best.

Does she have a favourite vineyard? A very difficult question apparently as “they are all my children”, but to this female farmer two stand out. 

The Tiernes Chenin Blanc vineyard (from where Jasper makes a single vineyard wine of the same name) is a 39 year old remote block, battling dassies and baboons. Besides its breathtaking scenery towards the west (with views all the way to Riebeek Mountain) the vines here also tell a story through their old shapes. For Franziska it is “incredible to work with, trying to show what they have in them with integrity and dignity.”

Tiernes the vineyard illustrated by friend Sarah-Jane Jordaan, for the single vineyard wine’s label.

On the other hand there is ‘the young grenache vineyard’ which hubby Jasper blends into his Swerwer Red. Franziska chose this spot (where her dad took out a struggling block of Cabernet Sauvignon) and planted grenache in 2013. This vineyard, also right up against the fynbos of the mountain and facing west, has lovely natural features like “rock trees” growing from granite boulders. The best thing for Franziska about farming this one is that she still gets to “shape them into potential as with an open canvas, you can be creative.” 

Young Grenache vineyard from two angles, with its granite boulders ‘rock trees’ and view towards Riebeek Mountain in the distance. Photos by Helena Sheridan.

For the last ten years this family of farmers have been planting new varieties every year (about 1ha every year) based on interest or demand for grapes suited to their terroir. Certainly a farmer and wine making family to keep an eye on, as the couple’s son James grows up amongst the vines and vats as a fourth generation Paardeberger.

Jasper, James and Franziska Wickens, photographed in front of the cellar by Daréll Lourens for Postcards from a vine.

Don’t Save the Date

In these uncertain times, where parties and wine can be taken away from us by a single speech, we are obviously reluctant to plan gatherings involving lots of high fives and sharing of wine.


Do keep an eye on our social media pages [Facebook | Instagram] though, if things turn around soon we might still sneak in a small gathering on the first weekend of November, but for now our priority is keeping ourselves, our teams and your supporters safe.

Swartland Producers Street Party 2019

Ticket sales are OPEN for this years event

Saturday 2 November 2019 | 10:00 – 17:00 | Riebeek Kasteel – Short street
ONLY 300 TICKETS AVAILABLE.
Make a summer pilgrimage to the heart of the Swartland to enjoy the best wines from the region, including all the well known faces PLUS a few new ones.
There will also be live tunes and a fair share of festivity.
Included in the price is lekker local street food to keep you going.
9:00 – 10:30 : Registration + coffee + snack
10:00 – 17:00 : Wine tasting – the latest vintages and more
12:30 – 13:30 : Street food session A
14:00 – 15:00 : Vintage Wine Table – We’ll open a few older vintages to see how they are holding up
15:00 – 16:00 : Street food session B
16:00 : The band starts playing

NOT FOR SALE TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS.

Available here: Quicket

 

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SWARTLAND HERITAGE FESTIVAL GUEST SPEAKER: Taras Ochota, Ochota Barrels, South Australia

 

imageThe Ochota Barrels tale began on a surf trip, late 2000 along the Mexican west coast in a Volkswagen campervan. A final destination after traveling some of the world’s most amazing wine and surf regions, Taras and Amber Ochota conceived the idea to make beautiful holistic wines back home in South Australia.
Here’s what they have to say about their methods and influences:
“A holistic approach from autumn to autumn in the vineyard, with the philosophy of going back to basics to create something delicious and unique with mother nature.

We are strongly drawn to and influenced by the small biodynamic producers we came across in the south of France. Organically farmed vineyards planted to earth that is alive, lo-fi technique and picking decisions made purely on natural acidity which hopefully contribute to a wine’s energy and nervous tension.

Texture is an important focus, manipulating mouth-feel with limited or extended time on skins including batonnage. Beautifully sculptured old bush vines with low yields and small berries, picked basically when you can’t stop eating them because they taste so delicious. There are no instruments on those sunrise vineyard walks, and if the stalks are piquant, whole bunches are included in our half tonne ferments. Controlled pigeage and hand cap-submersion retains purity of fruit, whereby the wild indigenous and spontaneous fermentation enhances complexity and artisan charm. However, an Occam’s Razor approach is still taken, as the expression of the vineyard is paramount. This is the reason we aim to make wines with attention to detail that are real and pure.”

First Guest Speaker announced for Swartland Heritage Festival 2nd & 3rd November 2018

Tom Lubbe of Domaine Matassa, Roussillon, France

Before Tom founded Matassa his family owned and ran a small winery called The Observatory Cellars in the early 2000s. Based on the Paardeberg, Swartland Tom worked with mainly old vines, dry land and bush vine Syrah and Chenin – you’ll all agree he made some ground breaking wines! After Tom traveled to the Catalan village of Calce, interning at Domaine Gauby, Tom then went on to start his own estate in the area, focusing on the traditional local varietals and working with some exceptional old (60-120 year-old) vineyards: and so Matassa was born. The emphasis is on Carignan, Grenache, Macabeu, and Grenache Gris. The terroir is mostly composed of schist and marl, with a small vineyard planted to granitic soil. Production and farming is all natural and biodynamic. The old vines and difficult terroir guarantee low yields and small production, with great emphasis on concentration and minerality. Tom is coming back to the Swartland! Swartland Heritage at its finest!

Bertus Basson confirmed as the Chef for the Swartland Heritage Festival

For those of you who bought Swartland Heritage Festival tickets already, excellent choice, we are glad you trust us. For those who haven’t yet maybe the fact Mr. Bertus Basson himself will be the event’s chef for the weekend will seal the deal? That’s right – snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner…. you name it, you won’t go hungry that’s for sure. Check him out: http://bertusbasson.com/

A few tickets still available, email rsvp@studio-h.co.za to secure. There will be NO tickets at the door.

 

Swartland Heritage Festival in Paternoster – 3 & 4 November 2017

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In November this year, the Swartland Independent Producers are taking over the West Coast town of Paternoster for an incredible celebration of Swartland wine and food.

“During the two-day exploration and ponderation of our Swartland heritage and history, Paternoster will be home to these crazy winemakers. Informative tastings with themes, Speakeasies (of the gin-and- talking kind!) as well as an international guest speaker from Georgia will be some of the things people can experience over the two day festival,” says Craig Hawkins, baby boss of TESTALONGA and proud chairperson of the SIP.

The Swartland’s best chefs and farmers will join a group of approximately 20 wine producers to share their fascinating stories. Speakers include:

– John Wurdeman from Pheasant’s Tears in Georgia. John makes wine according to ancient Georgian traditions and will be showcasing some of his qvevri-aged rkatsiteli, tavkveri and tsolikauri. He may even share a traditional Georgian song or two.

– Jan Boland Coetzee, Lambertsbaai, Swartland-born & schooled winemaker and rugby legend, will be sharing personal anecdotes from the West Coast before it became fancy.

– Rosa Kruger, critically acclaimed ancient-vine expert and protector; and

– The Swartland Independent Producers, a group of passionate winemakers that includes AA Badenhorst Family Wines, Sadie Family wines, Porseleinberg, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines and new-generation producers David & Nadia, TESTALONGA, Rall and Intellego.

In between the serious wine tastings and talks, guests can taste Swartland inspired food and wine, enjoy the company of fellow bokkom enthusiasts, and kick back and relax with live music.

Event details

– Friday 3 November 2017: 5pm – late (registration, one masterclass, dinner and maybe a bit of a dance too)

– Saturday 4 November 2017: 10am – 5pm (two masterclasses, lunch, talks and tastings)

Booking is essential, only a limited number of tickets are available
Tickets cost R2 200.00pp (no ticket sales to persons under the age of 18).
Please order tickets by emailing RSVP@studio-h.co.za
A full festival program will follow.

Stay updated

Follow the official hashtag #swartlandheritage on Facebook and Instagram (@swartlandindependentproducers) for regular updates on the programme.

SIP Winemaker Eben Sadie awarded Winemakers’ Winemaker Award 2017 by Institute of Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business are delighted to announce Eben Sadie, of South Africa’s Sadie Family Wines, as the winner of the 2017 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award.

The honour, which has been given annually since 2011, recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking and is chosen by a panel of winemaking peers that comprise all Masters of Wine who are winemakers, and the award’s past winners.

Previous winners of the award include Peter Sisseck of Dominio de Pingus (2011), Peter Gago of Penfolds (2012), Paul Draper of Ridge (2013), the late Anne-Claude Leflaive of Domaine Leflaive (2014), Egon Müller from Egon Müller Scharzhof (2015) and Alvaro Palacio (2016)

Receiving the award at a ceremony held at ProWein tonight in front of Masters of Wine and industry professionals, Sadie said: “It is a major honour to be receiving this award and I would like to dedicate this to the great team of people I have by my side that have helped me over the years to grow closer to a dream. For a great wine is not the work of one.”

Eben graduated from Elsenburg College, Stellenbosch in 1994, and worked various harvests in Germany, Spain, France, United States and South Africa. He ventured out on his own in 2000 to pursue his passion for blends and terroir in his Swartland home.

From what Eben describes as a ‘little shack’ in the Paardeberg, he began creating The Sadie Family Wines’ two signature wines – Columella (a red blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Tinta barocca) and Palladius (a white blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Semillon, Clairette, Verdellho and others).

After a decade of producing these signature wines the Family released the Old Vine Series, a bottling of eight single vineyard old vine parcels; Skerpioen, Skurfberg, Voetpad, Mev. Kirsten, Kokerboom, Pofadder, Soldaat and Treinspoor.

Jane Masters MW, chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine said: “Eben’s determined search to produce outstanding wines has put Swartland and South Africa on the map. I am delighted that the Master of Wine Winemakers have rewarded his dedication and talent – it’s truly well deserved.”

via: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2017/03/eben-sadie-wins-winemakers-winemaker-award-2017/