Our Vines

At Springfontein we follow a simple philosophy: Take what nature gives and make the best of it.

The process of creating a unique product starts with the very first day the vine is planted. Afterward it is to our queen of the vineyards, Hildegard, to take care of her “little babies”. Along with the cool climate, pure limestone soils and Hildegard Witbooi’s diligent work in the vineyards, we are able to hand harvest the best of what our place gives us as beautiful fruit, from which we carefully handcraft natural wines that are structured, yet elegant and well balanced.

Our focus is on the varietals well know in South Africa: Chenin Blanc and Pinotage. In addition to the “old faithfuls” like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, we have small plantings of Petit Verdot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

The vineyards are made up of 80% red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Shiraz, Pinotage and Merlot, and 20% white varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnay. The focus, however, shifts more and more towards the two typical South African varieties: Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.

Our Nursery

Our Terroir

Springfontein Wine Estate’s fruit pattern with mostly small bunches and tiny grapes providing wines with significant substance, structure and subtlety is mainly influenced by the soil’s alkalinity and the Cape Doctor winds which force the vines to protect themselves.

Springfontein Estate’s wines’ substance, structure and subtlety are furthermore influenced by the length of the ripening season, which is far longer than the country’s average. This is induced by the soil’s colour which makes the soil accumulate less heat, and by the farm’s opposing mountain site which provides many cloudy days even in the summer months, and by the cooling Cape Doctor winds.

These winds are also the reason why fungi and mildew are hardly growing in the vineyards so that we can limit our spraying to a minimum.

Furthermore, the winds and the cool climate in general are contributing to the grapes’ health, and together with the limestone soils’ alkalinity allow us to work with yeasts from vineyards and cellar, with only minor sulphur additions as our Springfontein Wine Estate’s winemaking can abstain from any artificial ingredients like acid or tannins.

So Springfontein Wine Estate’s terroir is a major factor that our vines and our wines can be grown and made fully vegan and fully organic.

Going Fully Organic and Vegan at its Best

On the left, you see two bunches from the same varietal (Pinotage) from the same clone (PI 48 A) and from the same rootstock (Richter 99 or R99) – the right one quite large with big berries and slightly loose, the left one small with tiny berries, tight and compact. The latter one, harvested on Springfontein Wine Estate’s southerly slopes, can definitely provide wines with more substance, structure, subtlety.

There are unique singularities with Springfontein Wine Estate’s vines and wines which allow us to go fully organic and vegan with both, the plants and their products. The length of the ripening season on the estate is far above the country’s average. There is hardly any risk for fungi and mildew to grow, so our vineyard spraying is minimal. Different from most of the country’s other wineries we don’t have to add any acid to the wines. We can work 100 % with yeasts from vineyard and cellar, so we don’t even have to buy in “natural” yeast – our yeast is natural in the purest sense. Our sulphur additions are extremely low if we have to have any.

What is the reason behind: a short introduction in Springfontein Wine Estate’s unique terroir.

Springfontein Wine Estate’s Geology

The Klein River along Springfontein’s northern border marks the boundary line between the acidic soils derived from Table Mountain sandstone to the north whilst Springfontein’s soils, located like a lentil south of the river, have an alkaline maritime limestone fundament.

So, on the one hand, the Springfontein Wine Estate’s soil is brighter in colour and doesn’t keep the heat as much as, in comparison, the darker undergrounds of other (South African) wine regions. On the other hand, with the soils alkalinity, the grapes generate a natural pH allowing us, different from common practice in the country, to abstain from any acid additives, and also sulphur preservation can be kept at its lowest levels to none.

Springfontein Wine Estate’s Macroclimate

With the influence of the west wind drift and the general weather conditions, the Walker Bay works as a mixing zone of cold Benguela and warm Algulhas waters .

Being a mixing zone of these two different currents, the Walker Bay also shows a constantly changing sea water temperature; within a day this varies by up to 3°C. By that, the sea temperature is rarely exceeding 20°C (=68°F).

For the Walker Bay, this brings specific conditions on the one hand for the sea’s fauna and flora. For Springfontein Wine Estate, this brings the macroclimatic framework for the estate’s microclimate.

Springfontein Wine Estate’s Microclimate

The Klein River Mountains, reaching up to nearly 1,000 meters from their sea level feet to the top, and located just opposite to the estate’s northern border, makes Springfontein Wine Estate’s microclimate so much particular, different not only from most of the other South African wine regions but also from our Walker Bay neighbour Hemel en Aarde Valley.

During ripening season, mostly south easterly winds, the Cape Doctor, bring in the cold of the sea and keep away any heat accumulation generated by land. The Cape Doctor is also challenging the wines so that they have to protect themselves by generating small berries in compact small bunches.

Finally, just arriving from the sea and hitting the northern mountain site, we have a significant cloud generation for Springfontein Wine Estate in particular in the ripening season.

So, the annual cloud coverage distribution shows a maximum of only 8.9 sunny days per month for March whilst all other months in this period have 6.8 to not more than 8.4 sunny days per month. At the same time, Springfontein Wine Estate has no apparent “dry season” as there are precipitation days all over the year.

To put this in relation to other wine growing regions’ climate data relevant for the ripening process for some wine regions. As you can easily see from the table on the right, comparable to French wine region Bordeaux, Springfontein Wine Estate has much less sunny days in the ripening season as, for example, Napa Valley, Swartland or the Cape Winelands.

As a consequence of both, the cooling winds and the cloud appearance, also the number of hot days with maximum temperatures above 30°C or 68°F is significantly lower compared to Swartland or the Cape Winelands.

The graphs on the left show the precipitation’s annual distribution for Springfontein Wine Estate as well as the mean figures for the estate’s daily maximum and daily minimum temperature for each month.

It also shows the daily temperature spread of 12°C or 22°F mean daily maximum to mean daily minimum temperature which is absolutely comparable to the one of other countries’ top wine growing regions and supports the delivery of subtle, sophisticated, well balanced and healthy grape material.

Our Appelation

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