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Asara Wine Estate

Asara Wine Estate

South Africa, offers visitors a rich diversity of cultural experiences, superb scenery, heavenly cuisine - and wine for the gods. This country has become the world's sixth largest wine producer. There are approximately 300 wineries, and most of them, like Asara, happily welcome visitors to their cellar.

The estate's history dates back to 1691, when it was first granted as a farm. In 1772 it was ceded to the Roux family, and it remained in this family until 1995. An old manor house, built around 1845, became the cellar in 1953. It was originally named Verdun as the Roux's saw the task of establishing vineyards on the farm as a figurative battle won.

Wine from this land was first sold to merchants and in 1970 the first wine under the estate label was bottled and sold off the farm. François Tolken purchased the farm in 1995, in whose hands it remained until 2001.

Investing in wine and the business of wine should always be approached with measured optimism. The rewards can be larger than life itself, but as with all such enviable enterprises it can be fraught with unforeseen pitfalls. To guard against these pitfalls one must apply all process to create a solid foundation. It was these business principals that were applied in 2001 when this stunning Estate in Stellenbosch changed hands to its present owner. "I know a good thing when I see it and my investigation into the history and subsequent potential of the farm made me comfortable with my decision" says the proud owner Markus Rahmann.

Markus' focus is on global excellence and a global vision. "To be fortunate to own a small piece of some of the best wine real estate in the world is one thing, to become a meaningful player is another." he says. To that end he implemented his vision to create an association of quality with every aspect of the Estate as well as life on the farm.

Taking this detailed approach meant analysing every aspect of the business and creating a model off which to operate. "Wine-making should be viewed in terms of partnerships - A partnership with nature to obtain the wine - A partnership to produce it and partnerships with retailers and distributors to make it readily available. For without any of these partnerships working harmoniously, we will never reach our ultimate goal."

Asara today - after systematically analyzing the whole farm for its potential - produces approximately 75% Super Premium Red Wine and about 25% Top Quality White Wine on this wonderful 180ha Estate.

After an old manor house, built around 1845, was transformed into stables, it became the wine cellar in 1953. Some of the original old cement fermentation tanks can still be seen. In 1995, this cellar was renovated and fitted with stainless steel tanks and a barrel maturation facility.

Another crucial addition in the quest for extraordinary wines is the experimentation facility that has been fitted with small stainless steel tanks. Here, the separate vinification of grapes from different blocks can be practised. Blending for optimal quality is then carried out.

Just in time for the harvest 2003 the new cellar building was completed. A new off-loading bin with a crusher-destemmer has been installed hanging from the ceiling. This allows us to off-load the grapes through the roof of the cellar and make use of the gravity flow. Additionally a new pneumatic Willmes press on wheels with a capacity of 16 tons is now available.

With two open top wooden fermenters imported from France and two stainless steel open fermenters equipped with a punch-down system we will be able to combine the more traditional method of red wine making with the modern.

Behind these open fermenters we have suspended, in mid-air, four large fermentation tanks and two medium sized juice drainers for easy handling of red and white grapes.

Extra storage tanks that have been designed for settling and fermentation of juice as well as blending and stabilization of wine have also been included.

For barrel maturation we can now use a new large facility equipped with cooling and humidity control.

Asara terroir has implemented all of these innovations for a softer handling of the grapes with the aim of producing the best possible range of wines.

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