Gabriëlskloof is the realisation of a dream for South African Bernhard Heyns, who searched for several years to find the unique piece of land that, in his words, would “root him to the spot”. In 2001 he found what was then a canola farm named Avontuur and the penny dropped. It was soon obvious that the site had the potential to make high-quality wines with a distinctive character, and so it has proved. Gabriëlskloof has been owned and run by the Heyns family ever since and the family has now grown to include members of the local community, several of whom have risen through the ranks to senior positions at the farm.
The estate sits on a rise in the Botrivier Valley between two mountain ranges; the Houwhoek range to the north and the Babylonstoren range to the south. The farm is 15km from the Atlantic Ocean and the vineyards benefit from cooling maritime breezes. There are two distinct soil types at the farm; Bokkeveld shale and sandstone. The soils do not allow for high yields and all the vineyards on the property have been tended to with the utmost care since day one. In total, twelve grape varieties are planted on the property. From the highest lying and windiest blocks around the winery itself, to the rocky, lowest-yielding vines on the north-facing slope; special care has been given to the aptitude of each block for each respective cultivar. All vineyard work is done by hand and sustainability takes precedence in every decision made in the vineyard.
The Whole Bunch Syrah forms part of the Projects Range. These wines offer something a little different. It’s a space to embrace risk and to experiment with alternative fermentation and ageing methods. All the fruit for this Syrah was hand-picked, whole bunch (carbonic) fermented for ten days, pressed and taken off the lees and then aged in steel tanks for eight months.