DeMorgenzon (the morning sun) was so named as it is the first part of the Stellenbosch Kloof valley to see the sun because of its high altitude and aspects. The estate covers the top southern and eastern slopes of Ribbokkop overlooking the pinnacle of Kanonkop from where a cannon was fired to alert the farms in the region that a ship had put into Table Bay. The first road from Cape Town to Stellenbosch ran through the Stellenbosch Kloof. In 2003 Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum bought DeMorgenzon and have since transformed it into a 224 acre garden vineyard, where abundant indigenous wildflowers grow between the vines.
Approximately 10% of DeMorgenzon has been set aside for the restoration of Renosterveld, one of the most threatened habitats in the Cape Floral Kingdom. 15 hectares of pine forest has been removed as well as assorted invasive alien species. The consequences of this are already visible. A long-dry spring in one of the kloofs has bubbled to the surface. In line with the Appelbaum’s belief that they must grow in harmony with nature, they are restoring the original vegetation in some areas and creating a bio-diverse habitat in the vineyard.
DeMorgenzon’s Chenin Blanc Reserve 2018 comes from low-yielding bush vines planted in 1972, which were recently lifted onto trellises. The vines are planted in decomposed granite soils at altitudes of 250 to 300 meters above sea level. Close proximity to False Bay ensures cooling breezes in the warm summer months. Conditions for this vintage were very dry, with vine stress management being key to success. Fruit harvesting tended to be very early in 2018, with a focus on bringing fruit into the winery with lower sugar and pH levels. The grapes were picked in three different passes in the early mornings in order to achieve optimum ripeness and balance in the final wine. Bunch selection was done in the vineyard, the fruit was cooled down and then gently pressed, whole bunch, and the juice was settled overnight without the use of settling enzymes. Fermentation occurred naturally in French oak barrels (20% new), using indigenous yeasts, with about 20% of the volume completing malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged on its lees in barrel for 10 months, without batonage.