Major's Hill Wine Estate
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At Majors Hill our stylistic aim is to create wines that taste like the grapes from wich they came. This is done by selecting only the finest grapes and using traditional winemaking methods. Subjecting our wines to the least amount of processing and handling possible enables these natural varietal flavours to remain intact from grape to bottle.

When the first vineyards were planted in 1995, it was difficult to obtain vine-cuttings due to a serious shortage caused by the great demand for South African wines on overseas markets and an ensuing drive to expand vineyards. Only Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay were available and 1,7 ha and 2,7 ha were planted respectively. After 1995 the right cultivars and clones were selected in collaboration with the Sawis consultant and the vines ordered in good time. The "Big Five" were planted, viz.Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz but South Africa's own wine of origin, Pinotage, was also included, the composition being 40% white and 60% red. The first harvest in the Major's Hill cellar in 2003 totalled 398 metric tons but the goal is 650 tons when the new vineyards have matured. The yield per hectare will always be kept very low with the proof this year in a yield of 7,6 tons per ha overall.

Every effort in the book is made to harvest only top quality grapes at an optimum ripeness. All grapes are harvested by hand and selected simultaneously. Allthough this is more expensive than machine harvesting, this fits into our aproach of working as natural as possible. The grapes is then brought to the cellar in the same small picking crates in which they had been harvested and de-stemmed over the tank by carefully tipping the crates into the de-stemmer without crushing or pumping the berries.

The white grapes are harvested very early in the morning to capture the night's coolness wich is brought on by the sea winds at night getting them to the cellar as cold as possible where the temperature is lowered even more to 10 °C. The decursive juice is separated from the berries and run into the fermentation tank. The berries then are pressed and this pressed juice is fermented in separate tanks.

The red grapes are also de-stemmed over the tank and are dry-fermented on the berries. The resulting decursive juice is separated from the berries after which the berries are pressed and this juice is pumped into different fermentation tanks . The decursive juice and the pressed juice of both white and red wines are regularly tasted and evaluated to decide whether they can be blended or should be kept separate.

Bottling is done at the cellar by a mobile bottling company.

The whole wine making operation is done personally by our winemaker Alkie van der Merwe and his assistent , Nico Renoster.

 

 
 
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