Hitch hiking Europe 1987. Arrive Beaune, France. Walk through vineyards from the motorway and onto the town’s beautiful cobbled streets. Wow. Fate sealed. Much networking (beer drinking) at Pickwicks resulted in two vintages at the beautiful Domaine Bertagna in Vougeot working with winemaker Roland Masse, (more recently Hospice de Beaune fame), followed by vintages in Bordeaux, Spain & South Africa. Who was the first flying winemaker anyway…
Fast forward a few years & back in Cape Town, South Africa. What a place. Mountains, oceans, sunshine & vineyards. Paradise? Home is now at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain. Doesn’t get much better than that especially if you love living life to the full. Climbing, running and biking on the mountain, or simply gazing at it, forces you to smile no matter what you feel like. What an inspiration…
I have been in the wine business for over 25 years having worked in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain, Portugal , UK, Chile & South Africa. I have been involved in all areas of the business from wine making to marketing. When I am not involved with something vinous or on that mountain I spend as much time as I can with my family.
WINEMAKING & PHILOSOPHY
Living in the Cape gave me the first real opportunity to make wines for myself. I wanted to produce wines which had broad appeal yet with elegance and complexity, delivering genuine value for money. You taste a glass, you want to finish the bottle! In turn this had to be represented by something which truly inspired me & has a big influence on the wine regions of the Cape – Table Mountain or Sea Mountain was a perfect fit. It’s also where South Africa’s very first vineyards were planted in 1652.
I try to keep things simple, not always easy, but wine helps & I try to have as much fun as I can.
The Sea Mountain crest depicts the outline of Table Mountain & on each side is a picture of the Devil & a Cape Lion. A metaphor for Devils Peak and Lions Head, the two peaks which frame the landmark. Underneath is the sea and the word Hoerikwaggo. The colour blue was chosen to reflect the sea – the ice cold South Atlantic.
The Devils Peak & Limestone vineyards are in Robertson, a green paradise with 1700m mountains on either side, where unique limestone soils formed from shell deposits in ancient lakes. Limestone soils add great elegance to many wines & are rare to find outside the classic French vineyards of Champagne, Loire & Burgundy. The chalky soil is ideal for fruit and mineral character whilst the red shale on the hills gives the wine structure. The South Easter wind blows up from Table Mountain during the summer months, cooling the vineyards and keeping them healthy. Table Mountain acts like a catapult, as the wind powers around the mountain, over the Cape Flats, through the Hottentot Holland mountains and inland. The temperature falls from an average of 30 degrees at midday to 15 at night. This high thermic oscillation is key to quality, as it allows the vines to concentrate fruit flavours & acidity overnight.
The Devils Peak and Limestone ranges were created to offer wines of delicious fruit concentration & elegance. Approachable to all yet with a soft, mineral complexity whilst reflecting their varietal characteristics. Devils Peak & Limestone are the first chapter of the Sea Mountain story with plans afoot to develop more ranges in other special regions of the Cape.
Sauvignon Blanc Product Sheet
Merlot Product Sheet
Shiraz Product Sheet
Chardonnay Product Sheet
Cab Sauv Product Sheet
DID YOU KNOW…
At over 260 million years old, Table Mountain is older than the Andes, the Alps, the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas. Basically, it is the mountain equivalent of Gandalf the White from The Lord of the Rings… feel the power.
Table Mountain is the only terrestrial structure in the world to have a constellation named after it. In 1754, French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lecaille named the southern constellation Mensa after the iconic landmark. He originally called it Mons Mensae, which is Latin for “the table mountain”.
In 2012, Table Mountain was inaugurated as one of the world’s ‘New7Wonders of Nature’.
Table Mountain is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, many species of which are endemic (exclusively native to a specific area) and survive only in its unique ecosystem. An example of this is the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, an animal that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Lesser known fact: The amphibian’s name will likely inspire the name of an up-and-coming Cape Town indie rock band, or a bottle of wine – watch this space.
Legend has it, the ‘tablecloth’ is the outcome of a smoking contest between the devil and a pirate named Captain Jan van Hunks – Quick definition: the ‘tablecloth’ is the cloud formation that develops over the top of Table Mountain as a result of the forced lifting of air by the earth’s topography.
That being said, much like Donald Trump’s ego, Table Mountain is still growing. Over 250 million years ago, Africa was considered to be the centre of supercontinent Pangaea. Around 165 million years ago, Pangaea fragmented into two parts, one of them being Gondwanaland. This then also started splitting, and Africa emerged as a stand-alone continent at the 100 million-year-ago mark. As a result of the shift in the Earth’s plates, Australia, India and Antarctica broke off from Gondwanaland and this break created the famous Cape Fold Belt Mountains. Table Mountain resisted folding because of its tough granite base, deflecting the forces downwards instead. This resulted in the mountain slowly beginning to rise, a process that still hasn’t stopped.
In 1998, former President Nelson Mandela proclaimed Table Mountain, “a gift to the Earth”.
It doesn’t get much better than that does it?
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