A few years into this millennium, Waverley Hills was singled out for both exemplary farming practices and exceptional wine. It was the first organic wine producer to achieve the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative’s Champion status with a string of other awards included in its repertoire.
The du Toit family became involved in what is today a leading recycler of winery waste – grape skins, seeds and lees. In the mid-1990s, the family acquired land on the nearby south-facing slopes of the Witzenberg Mountains where they have made their living with an eco-friendly approach for decades. The new journey would be no different and Waverley Hills Organic Wine Estate was born.
Waverley Hills is a thriving destination for lovers of wine and nature. ‘It’s incredible to see how life has returned to the soils. Natural equilibrium has brought back animals and birds, big and small, and a self-sustaining way to keep pests in check,’ says Kobus du Toit, farm owner with brother Wynand and their mother, Myra. The modern winery, surrounded by a landscaped fynbos garden, incorporates the wine tasting room, restaurant and wedding chapel. Winemaker Johan Delport has worked at, amongst others, KWV and Botha Cellar. In addition to soils and water, even the spirit used to fortify its Jerepigo wine is tested for undesirable chemicals to certify the wine as organic. Techniques utilised on the farm include covering rows between vineyards with shade cloth to prevent weed germination; and, blowing vuvuzelas (trumpets) to keep baboons from raiding the vineyards.
The vineyards comprise red varieties with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot taking the lion’s share. There’s also Grenache, Mourvedre and a young Pinotage vineyard. The white grapes farmed are Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Viognier.
The wine – to which 50 percent less sulphur is added, than to conventional wines – is made in a cellar that employs natural gravitation for the gentlest ushering of grapes to wine. It produces a Cabernet Sauvignon without the addition of any sulphur, which is certified as a ‘No Added Sulphite’ wine. Reducing their reliance on mechanical pumps makes the wines softer and less tannic, because fewer grape seeds are crushed in the process.
Waverley Hills is situated 90 minutes from Cape Town, off the R46 near Wolseley, between Tulbagh and Ceres. Tel: 023 231 0002 or
For the full article see Habitat #264 March / April 2018
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