At Welgegund we believe that our vines and the grapes they produce are the cornerstone of every wine we create and our vineyards are our greatest blessing. Our vines are given individual attention and nurturing but as much as possible is left to Mother Nature’s expert hand. Our minimum intervention ideology begins here and we aim to grow strong, resilient and characterful vines, naturally producing low yields of exceptional quality grapes full of flavour, colour and intensity, steeped in the influences of their surroundings.
A very special part of Welgegund’s legacy is our Certified Heritage Vines and we are very proud to be a member of the Old Vine Project. Wine made from vines that are at least 35 years old and are registered with the Old Vine Project may carry a certification seal, guaranteeing their authenticity. We are extremely fortunate to have several Certified Heritage Vineyards. Our oldest vineyards are our Chenin Blanc and Cinsault vineyards, planted in 1974. We also have a Certified Heritage Carignan vineyard, planted in 1979.
Certified Old Vine Cultivars
Chenin Blanc is is a white grape vine that is thought to have originated in the 9th century in Anjou in France and travelled soon thereafter to the Loire Valley. Chenin Blanc was likely included in the vine cuttings sent to Jan van Riebeeck in the Cape Colony by the Dutch East India Company in the mid 1600s and is the most planted varietal in South Africa. It is an early budding varietal, that ripens mid to late season. While it is true for all vines, the quality of Chenin blanc wine is intimately connected to the care taken in the vineyard. Harvesting should take place only when grapes are fully ripened and grapes may be harvested over an extended time period to accommodate the long ripening times. A high yielding vine, the best quality wine is produced from grapes grown on older, naturally low yielding vines, grown in hot, dry climates.
Chenin Blanc is probably the world’s most versatile grape and is used to make off-dry wines, sweet wines, champagnes and sparkling wines as well as dessert and fortified wines. Flavours and aromas vary widely depending on region, climate, vineyard practices and winemaking styles. Characteristic flavours are greengage and Angelica and in South Africa, Chenin Blanc also exhibits rich tropical fruit notes and often a creamy texture.
At Welgegund our 3 hectare trellised Chenin Blanc vineyard was planted in 1974. It is a Certified Heritage Vineyard faces north. The resulting hot, dry conditions and the age of the old vines cause naturally low yields of outstanding grapes with layers of fruit flavours and rich, creamy palates.
Cinsault is a red grape vine with an ancient heritage, which may have originated in Hérault region in the South of France, where it is still widely planted. It holds a special place in South Africa’s viticulture as one of the parents of the uniquely South African Pinotage varietal.
It produces large, dark and thick skinned grapes in tight clusters that easily break away from the vine. An early ripening cultivar, it is a drought tolerant vine that thrives in hot climates. Old vines grown in these hot, dry conditions produce naturally low yields resulting in the best quality wines.
Traditionally a blending grape and one of the varietals permitted in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines, it has become popular as a single varietal. It is a bright, clear red wine, with perfumed aromas and woody, spiced flavours.
Our 2.16 hectare Cinsault vineyard was planted in 1974 and is a Certified Heritage Vineyard. Our bush vines are character plantings, producing grapes of extraordinary quality with berry and spice flavours to the fore.
Carignan is a red grape vine, believed to be a very old varietal that most likely originated in the Aragon region in Spain.
It is a late budding and late ripening variety, that needs a hot growing season for the grapes to achieve optimal ripeness and thrives in dry conditions.
Historically used as a blending wine, more recently it has come into its own as single varietal. Its deep colours range from dense purple to dark ruby and it typically has intense flavours, with red berry and spicy notes. There are only about one hundred hectares of Carignan plantings in South Africa and wines made from old bush vines in the hot, dry wine growing regions, are considered to be excellent quality wines.
At Welgegund our 1.8 hectare Carignan vineyard was planted in 1979 and is a Certified Heritage Vineyard. Our bush vines are old character plantings and produce grape of superlative quality, with typically concentrated colours and delicate yet powerful flavours.
Syrah is a red grape vine which has its origins in Southeast France. It is the offspring of two other varietals, Dureza, a dark skinned grape from the Ardèche region, and Mondeuse Blanche, a white skinned grape cultivated in the Savoy. These varietals have largely disappeared from French vineyards and only small plantings are still found.
Syrah is an mid/late ripening varietal, with a short harvest period. As a result, harvesting should be a delicate process done by hand. The grapes prefer a dry climate and soils that allow for deep root penetration. Syrah vines are sensitive to frost and in the spring, long, fragile shoots emerge so they are best carefully trellised. They produce generally small grape bunches and small, dark skinned berries.
A globally widely grown and versatile grape, Syrah is used for both single varietal and blended wines, where it may successfully be a major or a minor component. Single varietal Syrahs are dark and full bodied with powerful flavours of black fruits and oak.
Our 1.3 hectare Syrah vineyard was planted in 2002 and another 1.7 hectare vineyard has been prepared for planting this winter. The current trellised vineyard has a north east aspect so has a slightly warmer micro-climate within the general farm conditions.
The wine made from these grapes is deeply coloured and intensely flavoured, whereas wine that will be made from the produce of the new trellised vineyard, which faces south west and will have slightly cooler conditions, less sun exposure and more wind, will be more subtle with a little less intensity and a fresher, brighter colour.
Grenache Noir is a red grape vine that most likely originated in the Aragon region in northern Spain. One of the noble grape varieties, it is an early budding varietal that requires a long growing season in order to fully ripen. Grenache Noir is a vigorous and wind tolerant vine that prefers a hot, dry climate and well drained soils. Vines have a strong wood canopy and produce tight berry clusters so grapes need to be harvested gently and by hand.
Grenache Noir is often used as a blending wine and is the backbone of the sought after Chaâteauneuf-du-Pape wines although it is also well established as a single varietal wine. A generally paler red wine, it has characteristic notes of berry fruit and spicy aromas. Grapes from older Grenache Noir vines and those grown in hot, dry climes, with naturally low yields, tend to be ruby red in colour with complex and intense flavours of dark fruits.
Welgegund‘s 1.23 hectare Grenache Noir vineyard was planted in 2006 and a further hectare will be planted this winter. The vineyard faces west and benefits from a very hot and dry micro-climate. In these ideal conditions, our thriving bush vines produce low yields of exceptional grapes with fruity flavours and soft tannins giving rise to a full-bodied, Chateauneuf-du-Pape style Grenache Noir.