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Avontuur Estate

Wines

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

About

Avontuur Wine and Thoroughbred Estate is situated on the southwestern slopes of the Helderberg on the R44 road which connects Somerset West and Stellenbosch, in South Africa’s prime wine growing district.

The Estate boasts a cosy tasting room where tastings of all Avontuur wines are conducted daily as well as a restaurant offering a mediterranean-inspired a-la-carte menu with daily and seasonal specials. Patrons are welcome to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the view over False Bay or in Winter, inside, in front of the fireplace. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast & lunch and for dinner on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as on Saturdays, in the summer season.

The estate has been owned by the Taberer family since 1984.

Lying restfully amongst the vines on the estate is the beautiful Avontuur Stud Farm where the emphasis has always been on quality rather than quantity.

Vineyards

Harvest Scene

At Avontuur Estate we grow 4 white grape varietals, namely Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier, as well as 7 red varietals, namely Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinotage, Ruby Cabernet and Shiraz, with Petit Verdot soon to be added.

The total Hectares under vines is 17 for the white grapes and 34 for the red grapes.

We are a IPW (Intergrated Production of Wine) accredited Estate.

Cellar

Winery from the airThe wine cellar at Avontuur Estate was built in 1986 and the first wine bottled under the Estate name was the 1989 Avontuur Estate Cabernet Franc.

With the arrival of two new red fermenters in time for the 2012 harvest the cellar capacity was extended a total of ca 300 000 L in stainless steel tanks. The barrel cellar can hold ca 350 barrels.

Harvesting is done in 20 kg lugboxes by hand. The grapes are then de-stemmed and crusshed before either fermenting red wines on the skins, in specially designed red wine fermenters, or before pressing the white grapes and fermenting the juice in stainless steel tanks and barrels.

Tasting Room

Tasting RoomThe cosy tasting room at Avontuur welcomes visitors with a wooden  counter made from old, used wine barrels and a wine display along the back wall. Seating is at the counter on bar stools, at wooden tables set out inside the venue or during the summer months, outside on comfy furniture overlooking the paddocks and Helderberg.

Regular displays featuring new releases, specially priced wines or just to highlight a theme for eg Valentines Day, Mother’s Day etc keep the vibe exciting and ever-changing.

Our tasting room staff  are highly trained and know our wines inside and out.

Over weekends, we always ensure that we have at least one permanent staff member on duty who is usually assisted by one or more of our regular casual employees.

The tasting room can be expanded to the terrace outside the glass doors and in summer these areas are definitely the most popular.

Winemaker

Jan van RooyenJan van Rooyen with nearly two decades’ worth of winemaking experience is Avontuur Estate’s winemaker. Although starting officially on the 3rd of January 2011, Jan had helped out during the latter part of 2010, which made it easier for him to get into the swing of things and after nearly two years with the Estate, is starting to make his mark.

When asked about his objectives for the wines, he cagily said that he has a 10 year plan, but would love to build on the foundation laid by his predecessors and  improve on the quality of the premier range wines, especially the Chardonnay. He plans to concentrate on producing great Reds from this farm’s incredible Helderberg terroir and have fun with the bubbly, the brandies and the noble late harvest.

To get to know Jan a bit better and find out more about his plans for the winery, we asked him a few questions:

1.    WHICH WAS THE FIRST WINE THAT MADE ANY SENSE?

In 1993 whilst working at the Department of Agriculture, I organized tastings for some of my colleagues and discovered a 1973 bottle of French Sauvignon Blanc in a dusty storeroom. For a laugh, I decided to include it in the line-up, but great was my surprise and pleasure, when it turned out to be fantastic! That really made me think about what I wanted from my winemaking career.

2.    TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT WITH WINE

I was in my first year of study at Stellenbosch University and was included in a tasting with my professor and senior students where we had to score the wines. I decided – in my “wisdom” – that a Nederberg Edelkeur was only worth 11 points, to the absolute shock and derision of the co-tasters! As my prof said drily: “Well he’s honest at least, but has a long way to go….” Years later when my own noble late harvest achieved double gold at Veritas, I thought: “Yes prof, and eventually I got there!”

3.    MY BEST FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE WAS….

I am a huge bubbly fan and in my 4th year at varsity Mo?t & Chandon launched a dessert-style bubbly in the most beautiful, mini-packaging.  I immediately decided to arrange a 100% bubbly-paired  meal and invited 4 friends. Obviously I had to fork out for the Mo?t, but everyone else also  brought samples of the best they could afford. I cooked my heart out and we had bubbly from the welcome drink right through to the dessert which culminated with my exclusive Mo?t! I believed then and still do, that bubbly should not only be kept for special occasions or celebrations, and this meal proved my point.

4.     IF YOU WERE NOT MAKING WINE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

I read fiction, listen to a wide spectrum of music from contemporary through to jazz and opera and when I’m on holiday at the beach, love foraging for fresh mussels off the rocks. Hobbies which I wish I had more time for, include fly fishing and golf.

5.    MY LAST GLASS OF WINE WOULD BE…

… a tiny, but perfect crystal glass filled to the brim of the world’s most famous noble late harvest dessert wine, Chateau D’Yquem. I’d rather wave farewell to the world with a gorgeous sweet mouthful than anything else!

Stud Farm

Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm, situated next to the wine estate at the foot of the Helderberg mountain, has always strived towards the “quality not quantity” motto. It was established in the late 1980s by the late Tony Taberer and his dream and passion will continue. Avontuur now has a superb broodmare band from around the world, which are continually upgraded as proven by the purchase of recent group winners River Jetez, Baltic Beauty and A Daughter’s Legacy. This, combined with a policy of only using outstanding sires, is slowly but surely establishing the operation in the top league.

Var-Advert

Our young stock is sold annually at the glamorous Premiere Sale in Cape Town at the Cape Town Convention Centre in January and at the National Yearling Sale in Johannesburg during April. Other sales are supported if and when needed.

Home to European sprinter VAR, who has been covering some of South Africa’s top broodmares from 2005 onwards, his progeny have breaking sprint records country-wide from 2009. VAR was crowned the Leading 2nd Season Sire at the 2009 National Yearling Sales and was also the leading sire of 2-y-o’s in SA in 2009.

Particularly exciting amongst VAR's offspring are Equus Sprinter of the Year 2011, Val de Ra;  Multiple Gr 1 winner Variety Club, who is doing superbly  over distances of up to 1600m and looks set to have the stamina to go even further, and others like Gr 1 winner August Rush, Chesalon and many more.

New addition & highly rated global sire Oratorio, who arrived at Avontuur at the end of February 2013, will add his international record as a proven sire of Gr 1 winners to the already successful Avontuur “mix”.

Although VAR and his offspring are the jewels in Avontuur’s crown, we have over the years bred many other winners from top stallions, and hope to do so again with Oratorio.

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