DeMorgenzon (the morning sun) was so named as it is the first part of the Stellenboschkloof 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 Stellenboschkloof. In 2003 Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum bought DeMorgenzon and have since transformed it into a 224 acre garden vineyard, where abundant 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. They are also experimenting with indigenous cover crops.
Vertical shoot positioned vineyards allow for optimum ripening and ideal sunlight exposure of fruit for this blend which is made up of 25% Roussanne, 24% Chenin Blanc, 23% Grenache Blanc, 14% Chardonnay and 14% Viognier. There is a good exposure of slopes to cooling Southern breezes off False Bay. Vineyards are established on slopes with soils of weathered granite and sandstone.
2016 was an exceptionally early vintage with grapes ripening quickly. Warm evening temperatures necessitated early harvest to ensure fruit with sufficient natural acidity. Grape varieties were picked across a range of different ripeness levels, sorted and whole bunch pressed after pre-chilling. Fermentation occurred naturally in small French oak barrels and cement eggs. Total ageing was ten months from vintage with blending occurring after eight months. A light filtration and fining took place before bottling.