When considering the various elements required to produce an award-winning wine, the quality and origin of grapes are often top of mind for most consumers. However, when investigating the winemaking process further, it’s evident that not only one element dictates the quality of a wine but rather six elements together, namely the soil, climate, typography (slope angle and aspect), the grape producer (also known as the jockey), viticulturist and winemaker.
According to Bonny van Niekerk, Red winemaker at Zonnebloem wines, the Stellenbosch region boasts the perfect combination of these elements, which is exactly why the area is known for its exceptional quality of wines, differentiating itself from other wine regions in South Africa.
“The Stellenbosch region is home to the Stellenboschkloof, Jonkershoek and Simonsberg mountains, which are all perfectly positioned for wine grapes as they are home to rich soils that produce a wide variety of A-grade grape cultivars. Furthermore, mountains in this region are known for their ancient granite soils, dating back to over 600 million years, three times older than the soil found in Napa Valley, California – one of the world’s largest and most prominent wine producing regions.”
Van Niekerk says that traditionally Stellenbosch is famous for its white (and red) wines, which are of the highest quality, but over the years the region has started moving towards producing even more top quality red wines. “Shiraz is the most popular red wine grape planted in Stellenbosch, with Cabernet and Merlot competing for second place.”
Van Niekerk explains that it’s not only the soil and natural elements that contribute towards the quality of the wine but expert, human input too. “The winemaking process never stops, and the team producing the wines continuously monitor vineyard blocks and work with the producers to ensure that the grapes used in our wines are of the best quality. This means that we regularly visit the vineyards to ensure that the vineyards are being looked after; the vines are being monitored to ensure optimal health and pruned as necessary. It’s the perfect pairing of natural elements and expertise that result in award-winning wines.”
It can be reasoned that it is due to the combination of all these elements: soils, typography, climate, producer and winemaking team, and the growing global demand for South African wines, that Stellenbosch remains at the forefront of growth in the wine industry, adds Van Niekerk. “It is for this reason that Zonnebloem chooses to produce award-winning wines made entirely from Stellenbosch grapes. We are proud to call the entire Stellenbosch region our home as it is at the heart of classically crafted wines.”
The award-winning Zonnebloem wine can be delivered to your door when purchased online through the Vinotèque via www.vinoteque.co.za/collections/zonnebloem. Visit www.zonnebloem.co.za, www.facebook.com/zonnebloem or via Twitter @ZonnebloemZA for more information.