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Annandale Wine Estate

Annandale Wine Estate

The history of Annandale Wine Estate traces back to the founding of South Africa. Annandale is the oldest farm in the Helderberg Valley. In November 1679, less than one month of arriving at the Cape, Governor Simon van der Stel left Cape Town on horseback to explore the Dutch East India Company's outpost near the Hottentots Holland Mountains and, amazed by the beauty of his surroundings, founded the eponymous town of Stellenbosch.

Gerhard (Hempies) du Toit is a fifth generation South African Huguenot winemaker who traces his winemaking heritage back to the founding of South Africa and anticipates a continued contribution to South Africa's winemaking future. Hempies du Toit continued this family tradition of viticulture and oenology being raised on the Alto Estate, one of South Africa's oldest vineyards with heritage dating back over 300 years. Annandale is situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains in Stellenbosch.

Hempies previously enjoyed success as a world class rugby player, earning 5 caps as a front row strongman on South Africa's Springbok national rugby team. Hempies purchased the 75 hectare Annandale Wine Estate in September 1996 and, after 25 vintages at the Alto Wine Estate, departed in May 2000 to continue his family's tradition through this new venture. "I stick to using proven methods of winemaking that have guaranteed quality for hundreds of years, with as little interference as possible in the fermentation and maturation process."

Annandale was first settled three years later, although it would be another six years before Governor Simon van der Stel granted title to Jan Wismaar, Annandale's first land owner. Reflective of such heritage, a manor house built in the middle of the 1700's and a cellar which predates 1700 survives to this day on Annandale Wine Estate.

At the height of its production in the early 20th century, Annandale supported over 500,000 vines on about 100 hectares of land. After the Second World War, part of the Annandale property became a shelter for abandoned and abused horses and home to a riding school before being returned to its roots with its purchase by Hempies du Toit in 1996.

A river gently meanders through Annandale Wine Estate flanked by trees planted in the late 1600s in the era of Cape Governor Simon van der Stel who mandated that any tree cut for homestead purposes needed to be replanted.

Nestled in a valley below the Helderberg and Stellenbosch Mountains in the heart of the 'Golden Triangle' of South Africa's premier wine country, Annandale enjoys panoramic vistas that span to Table Mountain and Lions' Peak in Cape Town and beyond to False Bay and the soothing swells of the Atlantic Ocean. Grapes have been grown for over 315 years on this historic property.

Set amidst the top wine growing and wine producing estates of South Africa, Annandale Wine Estate currently cultivates 45 hectares of vitus vinifera planted by Hempies du Toit over four years between 1996 and 1999. At present, Annandale focuses exclusively on growing red grapes and producing premium quality red wines. The following varietals are presently grown at Annandale:

For the past ten years prior to planting the vineyards, Hempies built up the soil at Annandale, principally by planting vegetables, to strengthen the land. Hempies further strengthened the soil with compost and organic fertilizer over this time, consistent with the highest standards of environmentally friendly viticulture practices.

Annandale features medium density vine plantings but Hempies aggressively prunes the vines and thins the crop to produce very low yields per vine of very high quality grapes.

Bunches of grapes are hand-selected during harvesting to maintain high quality control. The entire maceration and maturation process is conducted on-site at Annandale Estate's cellar according to the finest traditions of Old World winemaking. Fortunately, Annandale Wine Estate is located in the 'Golden Triangle' of South Africa's big red wine country.

The wines are a true reflection of this family's dedication to the art of producing classical elegant wines reflective of the terrior and fruit of the vineyards. Annandale's Wines are made solely from grapes grown on the 65 hectare Annandale Wine Farm situated in the scenic Helderberg Valley in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

In winter, temperatures range from overnight lows of 4C to daytime highs of 15C. In summer, temperatures range from overnight lows of 19C to daytime highs of 36C. Average annual rainfall approximates 75 cm per annum, which generally produces enough water for the vines to grow without resorting to supplemental irrigation.

Annandale's vines benefit from an abundance of sunlight, particularly in summer months. Balanced by air movement that includes gentle late afternoon sea breezes that rise from False Bay to cool the vines, Annandale's grapes benefit from a long ripening period that preserves their flavors and enhances their complexity. Vineyards are situated on westerly and southerly slopes ranging in altitude from 100m to 170m above sea level on gently rolling hills.

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