CEO of Warwick Wine Estate featured in Decanter

Behind the bottle: 12 influential women & their award-winning wines

South Africa

Christiane Von Arnim

CEO of Warwick Estate

As the CEO of Warwick Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, Christiane von Arnim continues the legacy of ‘The First Lady of South African wine’ inspired by Norma Ratcliffe, the Cape’s first woman winemaker and creator of Warwick’s first vintage in 1984.

Diemersdal Estate releases first Sauvignon Blanc from vintage 2022

Just over a month after beginning its 2022 harvest, Diemersdal Estate from Durbanville has bottled its first Sauvignon Blanc, the estate’s signature grape variety. The Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc 2022 hits the market on 4th March, one of the first Sauvignon Blancs from this year’s Cape vintage to be found on shelf.

According to Thys Louw, Diemersdal’s owner-winemaker, the early release is driven by the market. “As owners of an established brand, Diemersdal is in a fortunate position to each year have customers clamouring for our Sauvignon Blanc from the new vintage,” he says.

Pretty in pink: The first Sauvignon Gris in South Africa

Sauvignon Gris has been mostly unknown in South Africa, with only 0,12 ha under vineyard registered with SAWIS by 2020. That’s changing as two different producers have brought in the first commercial harvests of this enigmatic white grape this year.

David Nieuwoudt of Cederberg Wines first encountered Sauvignon Gris on a visit to Chile thirteen years ago. There, a tasting at top Sauvignon Blanc producer Casa Marin made such an impression that he couldn’t get it out of his mind.

It was a confluence of interests that finally brought Sauvignon Gris to the Cederberg.

Peak Performance

Some legendary wines are centuries in the making, whereas other wine legends appear to be born in the blink of an eye.

The latter would seem to be the case for Delaire’s Laurence Graff Reserve, which, within just a few years on the market, has been hailed as South Africa’s best Cabernet Sauvignon by respected wine critic Tim Atkin MW. In his annual report, published in September 2019, the British Master of Wine gave the 2012 vintage an outstanding 97 points, making it the top-scoring Cabernet Sauvignon and one of the highest-rated wines out of the thousands he tasted in South Africa throughout the year.

Evolution of Icons

An icon is defined as a person or thing regarded as worthy of veneration.

The story of Graff has unfolded over more than six decades. Renowned for the most fabulous jewels in the world, Graff is driven by the pursuit of craft, a fixation with detail and a devotion to beauty. Founder of both Graff and Delaire Graff Estate, Laurence Graff holds a fascination with the emotional power of gemstones, and has built a reputation for working with the world’s most rare and precious gems. The Graff family presides over every step in the journey from discovery to cutting, polishing, and setting the final piece. Their quest for discovering elusive gems and shaping iconic jewellery has resulted in a rarefied world of nature’s marvels.

The 20 Best Wine Farms in Stellenbosch

There's always a vineyard to be explored...

Stellenbosch is blessed with some of the most spectacular wine farms in the country, indeed the world, offering spellbinding views, scrumptious farm meals, superb wines, fun activities and a fantastic atmosphere.

With so many brilliant options – the City of Oaks has more than 200 – it’s hard to know where to begin. So, we went in search of the best, where you can wine and dine to your heart’s content.

Which are your favourites? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Note: Most estates are closed for one or two days a week; please contact the estates in question before you set out to ensure they’re open.

Syrah (and Shiraz) is key to our red wine offerings

The 16th of February is International Syrah Day and at Ken Forrester, Syrah is key to the red wine offerings. This cultivar, also known as Shiraz in other parts of the world, had a mysterious origin story for much of its life and is one of the noble varietals, found in almost every wine region of the world.

For a long time, it was believed that Syrah came from the Iranian town of Shiraz, once the capital of the Persian Empire, and then brought to the Rhône region of France. It took a team of researchers in 1998 to do genomic studies to find the parents to be lesser-known grape varieties Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche from Southeast France. This region is where we find the Rhône wine region, which is famous for single-varietal Syrah in the North and blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre in the South.

5 QUESTIONS WITH … Paul Clüver Jnr, Paul Clüver Wines

We chat with a cellar each month about their business, what makes them lie awake at night and what gives them hope “Being more sustainable requires an attitude of sometimes admitting that you may have been wrong in the past and being willing to improve. We are going to make mistakes along our sustainability journey, but the intention will always be to do good,” says Paul Clüver Jnr, MD of Paul Clüver Wines.

1. Tell us more about Paul Clüver Wines?

Paul Clüver Wines is a fourth-generation family business that was established in 1896. The farm lies in the cool climate Elgin Valley, surrounded by South Africa’s first biosphere reserve, the UNESCO-accredited Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. We have 75 hectares under wine grape vineyards, but also farm with apples and pears and have a Hereford Stud and various tourist activities.

SA Wine Trailblazer: Matthew Day

Matthew Day is clearly at home on a farm. At the wheel of a drop-top safari vehicle Klein Constantia’s winemaker is taking me on a slow drive around the estate.

The ascents gradually increasing, the views of the Constantia Valley and False Bay unrolling in summer splendour before us. We drive past snuffling pigs and errant chickens. Klein Constantia is said to be one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, it’s easy to see why, the natural beauty of the estate has been left unencumbered, with vines bordered by fynbos and rocky mountain deposits, and the occasional copse of trees.

Over half the property has been planted to sauvignon blanc, with more blocks being planned for the future. While the estate is well-known for famed sweet wine, Vin de Constance, sauvignon is its modern story.