Zandvliet Wine Estate straddles the Cogmans River, with the great Langeberg Mountains throwing a giant arm around it from the north and disappearing to the south-east. A small range of low limestone hills lie on Zandvliet’s southern half, bringing the special magic to its kalkveld (calcareous earth) terroir. Only 130 kilometres due south is the southernmost point of Africa, Cape Agulhas, dynamo of the breezes that cool our hills in summer.
Zandvliet was proclaimed as a 5000-hectare farm in 1838, along with the rest of the Robertson district at that time, being granted to a Van Zyl and a Balthazar Kloppers. Jacobus Stephanus de Wet bought the property in 1867. Upon his death, the farm was subdivided into Zandvliet, Prospect and Excelsior, with Paul de Wet buying the family farm from his eldest brother.
ANB Investments is the owner of the ClemenGold trademark and purchased the Zandvliet estate in 2015 to expand its citrus enterprise in the Western Cape. While many poor-bearing vineyards on the property were replaced with citrus, the company continued to invest in and grow the brand. It established the Kalkveld Lounge tasting room and new vineyards, whilst also significantly increasing the hospitality offering on the farm.
During this period, the team under winemaker Jacques Cilliers also revived Zandvliet to its former glory by producing premium, award-winning Shiraz wines.
Van Loveren Family Vineyards acquired the premier Zandvliet wine brand from ANB Investments in October 2019, which will continue to focus its resources on its own successful core citrus farming operations.
Under the new agreement, the flagship Kalkveld Shiraz, Hill of Enon Small Berry Pick range, Zandvliet Estate Shiraz, Zandvliet Muscat and My Best Friend range of wines join Van Loveren’s portfolio.
“Van Loveren has a high regard for Zandvliet and what it stands for, especially as the acknowledged pioneer of Shiraz within the Robertson Wine Valley,” says Van Loveren Family Vineyards MD Phillip Retief.
“The Zandvliet winery facility also leads to additional capacity for our recently launched red wine expansion initiative earlier in 2019.”
In addition to the transferral of the Zandvliet brand to the Van Loveren offering, Jacques Cilliers and his cellar staff join Van Loveren. Van Loveren will rent the Zandvliet winery facilities to continue producing Zandvliet wines exactly as before.
The magical key to our success lies locked within the soils of Zandvliet. Known as calcareous Karoo, with a red clay underlay, dotted with pockets of chalky limestone, this is what we call kalkveld, and it’s the driving force behind our classical wines. Firm acidity, concentrated flavours and mineral traces are delicately managed from vineyard to cellar. Our Hill of Enon wines, derived from a very special block on the estate, is an ancient geologically anomalous rocky outcrop with limestone patches dating back to the Upper Jurassic period. This piece of history is drinkable in our Hill of Enon Shiraz and Chardonnay wines.
Zandvliet Wine, on the outskirts of Ashton in the Robertson Valley, plays an illustrious role in the narrative of the South African wine industry. Proclaimed as a farm in 1838, Zandvliet counts among the very first farms to bottle Shiraz.
Zandvliet wines remain consistently recognised for the timeless elegance, style and quality. Most recently, Zandvliet Hill of Enon 2019 scored 95-points; achieved Top 10 status; and is a contender for Best of Category in the Prescient Shiraz Report 2021. In addition Zandvliet also received Double Gold for the Kalkveld 2017 and the Zandvliet Chardonnay 2020; Double Silver for the Zandvliet Shiraz 2017 and the Zandvliet Shiraz Rose 2020 at this year’s NWC/Top 100 SA Wines Challenge, re-affirming Zandvliet’s status as one of South Africa’s leading producers.
It has been said that there is a special romance between Zandvliet and Shiraz. These awards are the perfect way to celebrate over 40 vintages of Zandvliet Shiraz. May the romance continue to blossom.
Wine guru and writer Michael Fridjhon recently wrote that “something of a renaissance appears to be happening at Zandvliet, a property long associated with Shiraz”. This renaissance has brought new life to the farm and visitors can now enjoy special tasting and blending experiences. Despite new ownership, Zandvliet’s special relationship with Shiraz continues as part of the estate’s wine making strategy. “We are still planting more Shiraz on the farm,” says Cilliers. “In order to produce a Rhone-style blend with Shiraz we’ve established Mouvedre, Grenache and Carignan during 2017 and will plant Counoise and Terret Noir in the near future.”