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Almenkerk Wine Estate

Wines

The wines below are represented by Sovereign Selection in the United States.
 

Family

The whole project is a family-owned and -run operation. Both the farm and the cellar are managed by us, Joris and Natalie, and we consider it an honor and privilege to create and run the Estate - under the watchful eye of dad Joep who pops in a couple of times a week for coffee, wine and crazy brainstorming sessions. Our aim is to build a Family Estate for the next generations and build a reputation that will stand the test of time. If you just flip through our harvest pics you will see that the joy of winemaking is shared by a whole host of friends and family! They have all received the (highly coveted) harvest T-shirt!

We are bon-vivants and part of our mission statement is to have loads of fun while making wine! We refuse to compromise where the quality of the wine is concerned and are strongly committed to making simply delicious wines. Still, if you can't enjoy the process it kind of defies the purpose. We like to think that our wines reflect the passion and fun that went into making them. Sort of wants you to go out and taste our wines? Good idea!

History

Our story begins in 2002 when we moved to South Africa and started looking around for a farm with perfect terroir, cool climate and - frankly - a nice place to live. Only late in our quest, when we were seriously considering a promising property in Stellenbosch - did a friend insist we go "Over the Mountain" as they call it here and visit the Elgin Valley. Barely a week later we signed the papers and could call ourselves the proud owners of an ... apple farm!

Fast-forward a couple of years and we have now 15 ha of vines in production - and are still enjoying 4 hectares of apples and pears. The decision of what to plant - and where to plant it - has been a project on its own. We used consultants and professors with a combined experience of over a century. On top of that, we based our choice on Infrared and satellite imagery, soil samples, and electromagnetic scans of the soil. The input of the previous owner and the labour who has been living on the farm since forever, was also crucial in these decisions.After some deep ripping of the soil, we planted the specific cultivars to their best suited site. From there we have been nursing our vines into healthy grape producers. We use canopy management based on the latest research and employ precision viticulture to manage each vine separately rather than taking the bulk approach.

Orchards

The Estate was originally an apple farm. Of the 32 hectares of apple trees, we only kept 4 hectares that do not clash with our vines with regards to blocks and harvesting dates. We currently have 4 varieties of apples and one pear cultivar. The apples are Royal Gala (our favourite!), Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady. The pears are Packham Triumph.

Although apple farming is not our core business, it complements the farm nicely. The apple trees are beautiful, especially when flowering. It also keeps our team of labourers busy when there is little else to do. Apart from that, it is hugely gratifying to eat your own apples fresh from the tree! In fact, we have since decided to plant an additional 2.3 ha of Pink Ladies in 2012 and 3.0 ha of Royal Gala in 2014.

Tasting Room

Guests are welcomed in our tasting room, which is really more like our living room! We offer both relaxed wine tastings and more technical tastings, depending on your preference. As part of the experience, we also give cellar tours. We make a point of always have a family member available that can answer any of your in-depth questions.

Upon request, we can arrange for vineyard tours and tastings for larger groups.

Vineyards

The decision of what to plant - and where to plant it - has been a project on its own. We used consultants and professors with a combined experience of over a century. On top of that, we based our choice on Infrared and satellite imagery, soil samples, and electromagnetic scans of the soil. The input of the previous owner and the labour who has been living on the farm since forever, was also crucial in these decisions. It is only due to the wide ranges of slopes, orientations and soil types that we are able to grow and ripen a number of cultivars. All of these are now planted to its ideal site.

Almenkerk Vineyards Map

Winemaker

Bio Joris & Natalie

Joris & Natalie Almenkerk
After completing his Masters degree in Law, Joris emigrated from Belgium with his partner Natalie. Their idea was to start a boutique wine farm. That dream became reality when the van Almenkerk family bought an apple farm in Elgin. They planted 15 ha of vines and built a state-of-the-art cellar.  Today, Joris & Natalie run Almenkerk Wine Estate, producing award-winning wines and really making a name for themselves. Joris makes the wines, while Natalie puts her Master degree in Communications to good use through PR, Marketing & Sales.

It is, however, a true family-affair: parents & siblings help out during harvest and with the marketing. "Making wine while having fun" really does apply here! Meanwhile, daughters Annabelle (6) & Emma-Manon (5) get to enjoy the genuine privilege of growing up on a farm.

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