Theuniskraal Wines – Our Story

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Theuniskraal Wines, Our Story

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In 1927 the widow Jordaan from De Doorns bought the farm for her two sons. The elder, Andries, farmed on Theuniskraal, while the younger, Harry, did so on Agenda, a portion of the original farm.
 
The private wine industry at that time was almost non-existent, but Andries was determined to make high-quality wine. By the 1940s he was shipping respectable quantities of wine in bulk to London. Great wooden vats were sent out to the Cape from Europe by sea and then on to Tulbagh by rail where they were filled with wine and sent back the same way.

In 1948, the estate launched a Riesling (Cape Riesling) which two years later was awarded a gold medal at the Commonwealth Wine Show in London. Theuniskraal Cape Riesling has to this day a great following. The acclaimed Theuniskraal range further includes Theuniskraal Sémillon/Chardonnay, an unwooded blend of 55% Sémillon and 45% Chardonnay, the Theuniskraal Bouquet Blanc, a sweet white blend of 60% Gewürztraminer and 40% Muscat de Frontignan, the Theuniskraal Rosé, a semi-sweet rosé made of Shiraz, Muscat Ottonel and Colombar, and the Theuniskraal Prestige, a dry red blend of 50% Ruby Cabernet, 25% Shiraz and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon 

In 2006, the Theuniskraal range was extended with the exciting Ixia range named for the rare Ixia flower, one of the most striking and unusual indigenous flowers found in the Tulbagh area, particularly among the vineyards on the estate. The new Ixia range, which comprises a Bouquet Blanc, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a rosé, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Semillon/Chardonnay blend and a Shiraz, is aimed exclusively at the international market.
 
Nowadays the whole family works on Theuniskraal. Rennie, the eldest son of Andries Jordaan, now virtually semi-retired, is still provides very valuable input. The passing away in 2010 of his younger brothers, Kobus, was a great shock for the family and a big loss for Theuniskraal. The next generation has continued the tradition, with Andries Jnr as principal winemaker and cousins Wagner and Flippie assisting with the winemaking and viticulture.
 
Theuniskraal is situated about 7 km to the north of the village of Tulbagh, tucked into the Winterhoek Valley which is formed by the Witzenberg Mountains to the east, the Obiqua range to the west and the Winterhoek Mountains to the north.
 

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These mountains form important watersheds and are the main sources of the three most significant rivers in the Western Cape, the Berg, the Breede and Olifants. The second highest peaks in the Western Cape are also found in these mountains. Situated more than 2 000 m above sea level, they are regularly snow-clad in winter, giving the vines the opportunity to go into proper dormancy, essential for late-budding varietals such as Cape Riesling, Shiraz and Chardonnay. Intense cold leads to more even budding in spring, which impacts beneficially on the quality of the grapes.
 
Establishing vineyards in this area involves removing or crushing thousands of tons of boulders. Never daunted, the Jordaan’s still take on the gigantic task of producing the farm’s characteristic cool, stony, sandy-loam soils with excellent drainage and aeration. These soils provide excellent growing conditions, especially for Riesling. Moveable trellising wires, careful canopy management and modern viticultural practices, plus the cooling shadows cast by the surrounding mountains, ensure the slow ripening of the grapes.
 

Natural farming methods combine happily with high technology to bring out the best in each vintage. A sophisticated drip irrigation system, with probes that measure soil moisture, supplement natural rainfall during the dry and warmer summer months. Three weather stations on the farms are used to forecast possible outbreaks of disease in the vineyards and to ensure that spraying is carried out only at the right times, and with the right chemicals. Fertilisation is computer-controlled and a patrol of vigilant ducks, rather than pesticides, decimates snails.
 
Currently, there are 140 ha under vine, planted to ten varietals. All vineyards are trellised and receive supplementary drip irrigation owing to the very rocky, sandy-loam soils found on the farm. The most significant varietals are Cape Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Without good grapes there can be no fine wine. At Theuniskraal, grapes harvested in the cool of the morning are ripe, crisp and flavour-filled when they reach the cellar. Gentle handling and minimum manipulation preserve that flavour through all stages of wine-making.

Our Team at Theuniskraal Wines

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Team 1
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Team 2
Team 3
Team 5
Team 6
Team 7
Team 8
Team 9
Team 10
Team 11
Team 12
Team 13
Team 14
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