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Bellevue Estate

Bellevue Estate

Bellevue Estate has been owned by the Morkel family since 1861 when it was purchased by Dirk Cloete Morkel. He was primarily a sheep and cattle farmer, but established some vineyards. In 1900 his son, also Dirk Cloete, took over the reigns and followed in the footsteps of his father. His eldest son, Pieter Krige Morkel, fondly known as P.K. and a well-known character in the Stellenbosch agricultural community, did groundbreaking work in the establishment of vineyards on Bellevue and was ultimately responsible for the conversion of Bellevue to a wine estate. In 1943 under the leadership of P.K. the original cellar was expanded. In 1966, P.K's younger brother, Danie Morkel took over from him and his son Dirkie, the present owner joined him in 1978. Dirkie upgraded the existing cellar in 1998 to a modern, productive quality-driven cellar. Bellevue's present owner and viticulturist, Dirkie Morkel is the fourth generation on the farm.

Dirkie, owner of Bellevue Wine Estate and viticulturist, matriculated at Paul Roos Gymnasium in 1969. He obtained a BSc Agric degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 1974. After completion of his degree, he was employed in a research capacity at the Institute for Vituculture and Oenology in the viticulture department.

In 1978 Dirkie completed his honours degree in Viticulture, cum laude. He joined his late father, Danie Morkel, as fourth generation on Bellevue Estate. Dirkie initially took over the viticulture and provided a helping hand in the cellar. In due course the full responsibility of the winemaking and viticulture rested on his shoulders. Until 1995 Bellevue's wine was sold to Stellenbosch Farmer's Winery, followed by KWV, who bottled and distributed the wine under the Bellevue label in the United Kingdom.

Dirkie, however had his own vision with Bellevue's wines and under his leadership in 1999, Bellevue, bottled it's first vintage for own distribution. Dirkie is married to Heidi and they have one son and four daughters. They reside in the original Cape Dutch Homestead on the farm. Dirkie fosters a great love for animals - dogs and horses in particular. Bellevue's Bordeaux blend was named after Dirkie's beloved Arab mare, Tumara. Tumara is also the brand name of the Bellevue range in Europe. As "retired" rugby player, Dirkie remains involved by sponsoring sports events on the farm and Stellenbosch hostel rugby. Personal health and fitness is of great importance to him and his family and they are regular participants in marathons and half-marathons. Dirkie also plays tennis and squash.

Dirkie's objective for Bellevue Estate is, to produce world class wines through the use of technology, great care and quality driven decisions. A great number of aspects eventually determine the character of a fine wine. There are those that are God given, beyond our control and then there are manageable aspects that the winemaker and viticulturist can manipulate to deliver a product of superior quality to the market place. These aspects determine certain crucial decisions, a viticulturist has to make with regard to practical factors such as soil preparation, plant material, fertilisation, choice of cultivar, applied production levels, trellis systems, irrigation etc. The well informed viticulturist can use these mentioned factors as tools in his hands, to determine the correct balance between growth potential and yield to obtain grapes of superior quality. These decisions are not unique, but has to be made on an annual basis, according to the climatic conditions of a specific season.

The macro climate of Bottelary, determines this region as a high quality red wine area, with certain selected areas for superior white cultivars, such as Sauvignon blanc. Due to this phenomenon, Bellevue's plantings mainly consist out of red cultivars with a 75% : 25% balance between the red and white cultivars.

Dirkie firmly believes that there is profound truth in the saying: "Good wine is made in the Vineyard!"

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