From 1771 til 1902, Warwick Wine Farm – which is situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg, near Stellenbosch – was known as ‘De Goede Sukses’. After the Anglo Boer war in 1902, Colonel William Alexander Gordon, commanding officer of the Warwickshire regiment decided against returning to England and bought the farm. He renamed it ‘Warwick’ as a tribute to his regiment.
Warwick was purchased on April 1st 1964 by Stan and Norma Ratcliffe after an extensive search for the best ‘terroir’ in the Cape. Over the next years, Norma Radcliffe was recognised as one of the most talented female winemakers in the Cape Town region. Today, the estate releases a range of wines in her honour, known as the First Lady Range.
Michael Ratcliffe, Norma’s son, is the third generation family member to oversee this boutique operation. He is involved in many aspects of the South African and global wine industry and has held senior leadership positions in industry bodies.
Vines were planted in 1984 at altitudes ranging from 220m to 340m above sea level. They are known for their Oakleaf and Tukulu soil types. The climatic conditions, soil qualities and the natural location of this place make it ideal for growing varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinotage and Chardonnay. These vineyards comprise an area of 40 hectares.
This is a Cabernet Franc-fronted, Bordeaux-style blend with Cabernet sauvignon and Merlot. Each component is harvested separately, de-stemmed and hand-sorted into tank. The wines spent between 20 and 40 days on the skins, depending on their tannin structure with three or four pump overs per day. Once the fermentation was completed the wines were pressed to undergo malolactic fermentation in barrel and tank. After completion, the wine was racked to French oak barrels (55% new, 2% third fill and 42% forth fill) for a period of 24 months before selection. Components were blended and allowed to clarify naturally before filtration and bottling.