Spotlight on South Africa

Seven Springs South AfricaWelcome to a Wine Passionista exclusive!!  I’m very excited to be the first to introduce you to a a rising star winery – Seven Springs in South Africa.

In this, my first article of a series spotlighting the spectacular wines of South Africa, we’ll take a look at a brand new winery in the majestic wine region of Hermanus…in fact they are so brand new that the wine of their first harvest is yet to be bottled!

I have been a huge fan and enthusiastic advocate for the wines of South Africa since my trip there in 2001. I think the quality of the majority of production is exceptional, even though the majority of wines available on the shelves in the UK is of lesser quality, hopefully that will change soon.

Pinot Noir vines with Babylons Tower behind

Pinot Noir vines with the Babylons Tower behind

If Tim Pearson of Warwickshire, and owner of Seven Springs, has anything to say about it not only will this change, but it will change rapidly!  After many visits throughout his lifetime, it was in 2005 that Tim and his wife Vaughan, visited South Africa to celebrate their 25th anniversary and investigate the possibility of buying land that would be suited to viticulture. 

During this trip they stopped into the renowned wineries of Hamilton Russell and Bouchard Finlayson, both located in the subregion of Hermanus: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (Heaven on Earth in Afrikaans).  Immediately they knew this was where their dream would become reality – but patience was required.

Early in 2006, on a return trip to the area, everything fell into place and they purchased 12 hectares of north and south facing land named Vrede, which in Afrikaans, means ‘peace’.  Much of the land needed to be grubbed up to make way for vines and during 2007 they planted 9.18ha with Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; the final 2.82ha will be planted this year and allocated to Sauvignon Blanc.

The Beauty of South Africa - Babylons Tower taken from 7 Springs

The Beauty of South Africa - Babylons Tower taken from 7 Springs

The reason I am so excited about these wines (and no doubt Tim is exponentially more excited!) is due to the coastal location of Hermanus, southeast of Cape Town and Stellenbosch (the country’s best known wine area). Thanks to the unique cooling effects from the Atlantic Ocean, these cool-climate conditions are ideal for the production of the four grape varieties Tim has chosen to focus on: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

February saw the beginning of their first harvest with the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and just last week the Syrah was brought in. Newly appointed 26-year-old winemaker, Riana Van der Merwe, has begun making her first vintage for Seven Springs and the wines will be ready to taste this Summer.

I look forward sharing my experience of these wines with you later this year and will keep you posted on all the exciting developments from Seven Springs!

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There’s always time for wine!

Tara – Wine Passionista

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