Alheit vineyards believe in farming as close to nature as we can, and encouraging naturally healthy soil. This is paramount in making fine wine. Dead soil gives dead wine. We are privileged to be able to work with some of the most extraordinary dry farmed bushvine vineyards in the Cape. For the most part the plots that we work with are between 30 and 50 years old.
At this age, the vines are mature enough to express their origin with an effortless kind of grace. We really love these old blocks, both because of their quality and because they represent our heritage.Rosa Kruger has been a great help. She spent several years unearthing and polishing some of the hidden treasures of the Cape Winelands. Our bottling called “Cartology” is a quiet tribute to her work.
We cannot draw on the past without building on the future. The Cape has a largely Mediterranean climate, with some cooler regions resembling the windy maritime climate of Spanish Galicia. Its stands to reason, that if we wish to make the best wines possible in the Cape, we should play to our strengths by planting grape varieties that suit our climate.
With this in mind, Hans Evenhuis had the gumption to plant a very exciting vineyard on Hemelrand (Hemel & Aarde Ridge, Walker Bay). The wine is a field blend of Chardonnay*, Rousanne, Verdelho, Chenin blanc, Viognier, and Muscat blanc. On an exploratory front, we’ve finally managed to plant our Riesling vineyard. We started talking to the owner of De La Rey farm way back in 2009. Finally, in 2015, after a very long wait we got our vineyard planted. De La Rey is 150 km from the nearest ocean, which should give us a much more continental climate than our other plots. The site is a southern slope, on schist soil, at 1260m (4132 feet for the Americans) above sea level. It snows there every winter.
The Alheit’s goal is clear: they want to produce wines with a clear Cape identity. They want to show that the Cape’s vinous heritage is worth celebrating and protecting, that old vineyards and “ordinary grapes” are in fact wonderful, and that our winemakers are only just scratching the surface of what’s possible in the Cape.