news  |  april 2017 


As a specialist Chardonnay winery focussing on site-specific wines bearing individual characteristics, the unique features of each year's vintage is of the utmost importance. The vintage adds a fingerprint to a wine, giving it that mark of true distinction.

The site of the vineyard is there, fixed and permanent. The wine-making methodology remains much the same. But the annual cycle which the vine undergoes in its specific natural environment is never, ever the same. On the day which a bunch of grapes is picked, that fruit reflects the varying temperatures, the wind, air pressures, the rain and the frost of the previous 365 days. It is thus obvious that every year will see different flavours, chemical structures and aroma compounds that will never be repeated.

Like site and terroir, vintage makes wine unique.


In recent years, De Wetshof has identified 2009 as the Vintage of The Millennium thus far. These wines are now eight years old and vindicate the excitement we had when the first bunches of fruit hit the cellar in that year. You take one look at the bins full of Chardonnay, which looks like green caviar in a good year, and you know you are onto something.

Which brings us to this year's vintage. And once again we are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about 2017. The fruit arrived at the cellar in exceptional health. The pressed juice oozed character, showed balanced pH-levels and a wonderful balance between sugar and acidity. Now that the wines have fermented, we can say this is going to be another fine vintage, possibly as good as 2009.

One of the reasons for this, we believe, was that during the harvest we did not experience vicious heat-waves. Days were generally breezy, and nights cool.


De Wetshof is particularly precise about their daily harvesting schedule. We begin working in the vineyards at around 03:00, and as soon as the mercury reaches 27C the pickers stop. As it gets warmer, the grape's structure changes. The bunches were therefore allowed to rest during the heat of day, and cool down at night leaving them revitalised and fresh to be harvested the next morning.

And with 70% of the farm planted to Chardonnay, much of the harvest is compacted into three weeks, ensuring all fruit is picked at optimum ripeness. This allows us to get the best out of the site-specific vineyards for this time nature gave us a fantastic year, so it is our duty to do it justice.


The Eternal Quest for Chardonnay Knowledge

You never stop learning in the wine industry. Perfection will never be attained, but to seek it is an eternal quest. De Wetshof is currently conducting a unique experiment with the planting of six Chardonnay clones in one vineyard. This clonal experiment aims to ascertain the relationship between six Chardonnay different clones when the vines suddenly find themselves growing and producing grapes next to one another.

The new vines found on the four hectare site on De Wetshof comprise clones CY9, CY96, CY548, CY3, CY277 and CY76, planted in rows and in equal numbers.

"All six clones are already present on De Wetshof where each one is dedicated to a specific vineyard or part of a vineyard," says De Wetshof CEO Johann de Wet whose idea the experimental vineyard was. "I have always been intrigued by the influence on clone selection in wines and the refined differences they have leading to the product in the glass having a distinct personality."

The aim of the experimental Chardonnay clonal vineyard, says De Wet, is to see how each vine representing a different clone reacts in a state of isolation when it finds itself among other clones.

"The experimental vineyard is not even a year old, but over the next three to four years I hope to see some exciting things as the plants develop in this unique environment," he says. "Each clone's stress levels, for example, must differ in this population of foreigners. The effect on the growth cycle and bunch-sizes will be interesting, but more so the unique flavours it is going to bring to the wine."

Even the youngsters are never too old to learn!


Johann de Wet

Johann de Wet in the experimental Chardonnay vineyard on De Wetshof 

De Wetshof's Exceptional BSCI Compliance

An acceptable degree of ethical and social compliance in the work-place is of the utmost importance for any wine business, and one of the most important accreditations is that of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). This is a leading international supply chain management system that supports companies to drive social compliance and improvements within the factories and farms in their global supply chains.

BSCI Compliance
Standing proud at the De Wetshof Creche

BSCI implements the principle international labour standards protecting workers' rights such as International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions and declarations, the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and guidelines for multinational enterprises of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

De Wetshof received a score of 98,4% on its BSCI audit, vindicating the estate's pioneering role in occupation safety and social standards for its work-force.

For South African producers, accreditations such as these are of the utmost importance: most importantly to ensure the well-being of your workforce, but also to underscore your position as a world-class producer and employer.

Wine Spectator 92 Points

Some good news on the wine-rating front reached De Wetshof in March. The Wine Spectator, the largest wine magazine in the world, rated the De Wetshof Lesca Chardonnay 2016 (Finesse in South Africa) with 92 points. Any score of 90 and above from this discerning magazine is regarded as exceptional, and we are extremely pleased at the 92 point rating for this stalwart Chardonnay. The description notes read as follows: A ripe style, but with the zip for focus and balance. A racy quinine note drives the core of yellow apple, pear and green fig fruit. A light hazelnut edge adds range. Drink now through 2019.

To add to this, The Wine Enthusiast rated two wines above 90 points, namely De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2016 (91pts ) and De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2016 (91pts).


WE hope you are enjoying the beautiful Cape autum weather as much as we are. It is a wonderful time of the year, with mild days, cool evenings and the gorgeous colours of nature and vineyards.

And don't forget the Robertson Wine Valley's annual Wacky Wine Weekend from 1 to 4 June. De Wetshof will be open for a taste of our true Boland hospitality. For more information on this event, go to



+27.236151853       Fax: +27.236151915       Email:       Website:
P.O. Box 31 , Robertson, 6705, South Africa

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