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As a “Wine Estate”, Springfontein relies exclusively on grapes from its own vineyards, located directly on the farm, with their unique limestone soils and their special microclimate, special flora and fauna. On a certified organic farm like theirs, naturally vine growing is carried out without the use of any chemical fertilizers and under an extremely restrictive spraying regime to limit the use of pesticides as far as even possible.

Finally, within the quasi-“monopole” Springfontein Rim, they have a number of individual sites or “clos” that stand even out from the total area under cultivation, such as Jonathan’s Ridge and Jil’s Dune, whose grapes they vinify separately at great expense in order to express the unique soil and weather conditions under which the wines are grown in these designated parcels.

The Cultivars

In doing this, they are increasingly concentrating on the cultivation of Pinotage and Chenel, two indigenous grape varieties developed in South Africa. Pinotage was created in 1925 by Abraham Perold, owner of the first viticulture professorship established at the University of Stellenbosch, as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, in our country commonly known as “Hermitage”. Chenel was born almost 50 years later as a hybrid of the parents’ couple Chenin Blanc and Trebbiano Toscano by Christiaan Orffer, who also held the professorship at the chair of Viticulture and Oenology in Stellenbosch from 1963 to 1986 and was one of the founding fathers of the South African Society for Oenology & Viticulture. In addition to Pinotage and Chenel, Springfontein is also planted with some of the well-known European varieties which we take mainly as blending partners for our core varietals.

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The Microclimate

The chain of the Kleinrivier mountains, which rises from zero to 1,000 thousand metres on our northern site and is therefore the first obstacle for the weathers entering the African continent from Antarctica, gives us an extraordinary high number of days when the sky is overcast, with temperatures not exceeding 26°C even in our summer. Furthermore, the amount of rain and its distribution within the year is almost the same as in Bordeaux. The nights, marked by the cold Benguela current of the ocean, ensure a high temperature amplitude in the daily rhythm.

In addition, there is an almost constant breeze. So we can rely on a microclimate that is more similar to the one of the French Medoc than to the warm or even hot conditions of the traditional Cape Winelands where the ripening of grapes there takes much less time than in our case. However, on Springfontein we are able to synchronize the desired sugar content of the must with the physiological ripeness of the berries, especially of their pips, skins and stems. In addition, the must experiences a special aroma density and aroma variety, supported by the outside temperature’s day-night variations. And finally, the wind keeps the vine rows healthy and makes them hardly susceptible to mildew, which almost completely spares us the application of fungicides.

The Soil

The limestone soil on which our vines grow is limited to a small, lentil-shaped parcel of land, which geologically belongs to the Waenhuiskrans and the Klein Brak formation within the chalk-dominated Bredasdorp Group. It ends in the northern “front” part of the farm just where the Klein River is flowing through, while in the southern, uncultivated “back” part it extends only a few metres beyond our border. The meagre alkaline ground is surrounded by the fertile, acidic lands of the Cape region’s other winegrowing parts, which are characterised by weathered granite and partly also by clay slate, on which the Constantia, Swartland, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl or Tulbagh vineyards were planted, but also those of all our neighbours in the Kleinrivier valley.

Calcerous soils, with their frugality, often limit yields naturally; we do not need to reduce them artificially. Calcareous soils, by their alkalinity, produce fruit with natural acidi-ty; we do not have to use industrially produced tartaric additives, as is all too common else-where. Calcerous soils create healthy crops that allow us to achieve the lowest possible sulphurization. And finally, limestone, due to its brightness and their comparatively low heat storage capacity, help us to achieve long ripening periods.

To Import Wines contact Omar Botha 073 854 3103

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