De Trafford Winery is situated on the beautiful Mont Fleur farm set at the top of a dramatic valley above Stellenbosch, 380m up between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains. Growing of vineyards on this farm started with the purchase of the property in 1976 by former architect, David Trafford and his wife Rita, chef and artist, when it was still inaccessible grazing land. Complex granitic based soils have an ideal clay content that allows good drainage and sufficient water retention at the same time.
Due to quota restrictions, the planting of a commercial vineyard had to wait 18 years. In 1983 a small vineyard was established to produce experimental wines – consumed by family and friends. 1984 to 1991 were ‘learning curve’ years, which included lots of help and advice from local winemakers and working experience in France, particularly in the Bordeaux area. Today David and Rita live in the middle of the vineyard, close to the winery and watch closely over all aspects of their business.
In addition to grapes grown on Mont Fleur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chenin Blanc grapes have been sourced from three other vineyards in the Helderberg and Stellenbosch Mountain area to produce grapes with highly concentrated, balanced flavour from naturally low yielding vines. Vine age varies between 10 & 45 years. The Chenin grapes are handpicked in the morning, crushed and given a little skin contact to extract some of the falvour just under the skins, before pressing in a traditional basket press. After a natural settling, the wine ferments in 15% French oak barrels in the cool underground cellar. Only natural, indigenous yeast is used which makes a big positive difference with the Chenin Blanc as it remains on the lees for around 9 months, soaking up the complex flavour. Like all De Trafford wines, the Chenin Blanc is bottles without filtration to capture all the subtle flavours.
Each year one of Rita Trafford’s artworks is chosen for the label – usually a painting, but more recently one of her ecoprinted silk scarves. There is no correlation between the artwork and the specific vintage. They are simply two joyous projects coming together.