Thanks so Pam McOnie, owner of Cape Fusion Tours for organising this wonderful visit to Sadie Family wines, a unique glimpse into this Swartland vineyard which offers wine tastings limited to 16 visitors around seven times per year.
A little over an hour's drive from Cape Town, with the last few kilometers on a gravel road and we found ourselves in the heart of the Swartland wine region and the home and vineyard of Eben Sadie of The Sadie Family wine collection.
We were warmly welcomed by Paul Jordaan, a wine maker with many years of experience and very involved with the viticulture and wine production at Sadie Family Wines. Eben Sadie purchased the farm in 2002 and spent ten years commuting between South Africa and Spain, until 2002 where be began spending more time on his Swartland vineyard.
We have all experienced drought in Cape Town, but still nothing compared to the Swartland region and it was the first time I had seen vineyards without the regular drip irrigation system, but a new system which was invented in Israel.
This plastic irrigation system, channels dew and rain directly towards the vines, and prevents weeds from growing around the vine.
No stainless steel tanks in sight and Paul Jordaan shows us their cement tanks, imported from Italy. After the grapes have been hand sorted on arrival at the cellar, whole bunches with minimal press are fermented in these cement tanks with their natural existing yeast. As Swartland is warmer that the Stellenbosch wine region, they begin their harvest a week or two earlier and harvest around 1.5 tonnes per day.
All white and red wines are made in the same way and further philosophy is to use minimal oak on the wines, Eben Sadie purchases only four new barrels per year, giving 5% new oak in the final wines.
T5 on the wine barrel confirms that it was dried out in the open air for five years and the wicker style edging has been added as it indicates if the cellar has beetle problem (the beetle will attack the wicker first so they have time to resolve the problem before they attack the barrels).
In addition, Sadie Family wines age wine in a collection of wine amphorae, produced by a local potter in Cape Town.
Paul Jordaan took us through a tasting of the Sadie Family wines, it was the first time I had done a tasting where Paul started with the reds first and ended with their white wines, but it certainly was a success.
A highlight for me was to try their Chenin Blanc from vines planted in 1905, Paul explained how with good viticultural practice a vineyard can be turned around and give improved yields.
And of course, Columella, what a joy to taste their vintage 2012
Thanks to Sadie Family wines and Paul Jordaan for hosting us and giving us a unique insight into their wine philosophy and attention to detail.