Terroir

At Welgegund we are blessed with a unique fingerprint of terroir, ideally suited to creating wines which are complex, intense and a true reflection of their birthplace. Counterintuitively, less fertile soil and relatively harsher environmental conditions stress vines. Stressed vines of certain varietals become stronger and producer fewer berries with these intense and complex flavours.

Our soils are ancient, decomposed granite, largely composed of quartz and feldspar, with minor components of mica and other minerals. Over time, as granite is exposed, the micas weather first and then the feldspars, both changing chemically into finer clay minerals which settle lower down the soil profile. The quartz crystals are left in loose aggregation and remain visible at the top of the soil profile. This weathering process creates exceptionally desirable soil characteristics, with well-draining loose upper soil particles that stress vines and force the root structures to grow deep into the subsoil of clay minerals to access water during the growing season. The gravel texture of our topsoil absorbs heat and reflects it onto the vines at night when temperatures are cooler and the deep clay subsoil retains water which hard-working vines can access in dry times.

Our climate has a defining influence on our wines. Because of its variability, climate is considered to be the aspect of terroir that has the most influence over the wine produced and, given that no two seasons ever have exactly the same climatic conditions, neither will different vintages ever be the same.

Summers at Welgegund are hot and dry, with temperatures that regularly climb above 40˚C.  Cooling breezes funnel down the valley from the Du Toit Kloof pass, importantly moderating the extremes of this summer heat.  Winters are cold and wet but considered mild as, importantly, temperatures rarely drop below 0˚C alleviating the risk of damaging frosts. These are ideal weather conditions for our vines – a sunny, hot and dry growing season ensures vigorous vines that flourish producing fewer, concentrated berries of extraordinary quality; a ripening period that is long, remains warm and largely dry throughout allows the grapes to reach full maturity and intensity and a cold winter pressures the vines into dormancy, ensuring a strong bud burst the following season, but mild enough not to damage vines during this period.