The Foundry Wine Collection was established on a shoestring budget in 2001 by Chris Williams and his great friend James Reid. Chris studied viticulture and oenology at Elsenberg Agricultural College, after which he worked as understudy winemaker to Giorgio Dalla Cia at the Meerlust Estate in Stellenbosch. He also spent some time in Bordeaux where he developed his love for all things French, including the classic wine regions. After six vintages at Meerlust, Chris left to establish the South African operations of Boutinot LLC, a Manchester, UK-based wine company. In 2003 Chris spent one vintage at Delaire Vineyards after which he was lured back to Meerlust to become cellar master in charge of all wine production in 2004. After sixteen more years at Meerlust, Chris left in December 2019 to establish a winery on shareholder James Reid’s Paardeberg. The first vintage of The Foundry was vinified at the Myburghs of Joostenburg winery in Paarl. There was no room for the barrels in their barrel room, and so they were accommodated in the old blacksmiths’ workshop – and so ‘The Foundry’ was born. From 2020 The Foundry has a new home in the Voor-Paardeberg area.
Grapes for this wine were sourced from a one hectare vineyard at Fijndraai in Stellenbosch planted in 2007 on heavily de-composed granite soils and just four kilometres from False Bay. A small crop was harvested at modest sugar levels but at full flavour ripeness to ensure lower alcohol but brighter acidity and freshness and fruit expression. Grapes were cooled overnight, and then partially de-stemmed and crushed with some whole berries and bunches remaining. About 15 % of stalks were used. The first stage of fermentation was un-inoculated with a neutral Rhone strain inoculated later to complete fermentation. Only 40% of the free run was barrel aged in seasoned tight grain French oak, with 60% remaining in cement tank for malolactic fermentation. The blend was assembled after eight months and given another five months to harmonize in neutral concrete tanks before bottling. No fining or filtration took place.