Restless River is in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, situated in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, with our vineyards at an altitude reaching 1200ft and 5km from the cold South Atlantic ocean.
Their appellation is unique with ancient, granite-based, rocky, deep clay soils; extremely rare to the greater Walker Bay area. Daytime temperatures during summer are some of the lowest in the South African winelands. This cool maritime climate and our decomposed granite soils allow us to grow and make lighter, more elegant wine, balanced with texture, length and complexity.
Hundreds of years ago, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley was known as Attacquas Kloof. In 1760 the elder, Wessel Wessels arrived with his family and set up home. Some historians say it was Wessel who called the valley ‘Hemel-en-Aarde’. What is known for sure is that old man Wessels was the first European of settler descent to live in and farm the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Fast forward 244 years. 2004, Craig and Anne Wessels bought a small portion of Wessels’ original farm, and in so doing, the name of the original settler was once again returned to the valley.
Like the Wessels’ that went before, Craig’s real passion is farming, and he is also the winemaker. Anne shares the passion, and runs the business side of the estate. The farm has some of the oldest Cabernet sauvignon and Chardonnay in the Hemel-en-Aarde, with vines first planted in 1999. Pinot noir followed and was planted in 2013.
The same pioneering spirit of his forefathers is alive and burning bright (Craig is also a great x7 grandson of President Paul Kruger). So it is no surprise that his approach is unconventional, fairly extreme but always very considered, guided as he says, “more by my senses than science”.