Wine Regions - Cape South Coast Region - District Walker Bay

6 important questions on Wine Regions - Cape South Coast Region - District Walker Bay

District Walker Bay, based in the Cape South Coast region of South Africa, is well known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Who pioneered here with plantings?
Which famous wards are based here?

  • Burgundy-lover Tim Hamilton-Russell planted in 1975

  • Bot river ward
  • Hemel-en-Aarde related wards:
    • Hemel-en-Aarde valley
    • Upper Hemel-en-Aarde valley
    • Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge

Describe Ward Hemel en Aarde within district Walker bay and its ideal growing conditions

  • A collective name of three wards (valley, upper, ridge)
  • near Hermanus
  • Cooling winds reducing risk of over ripening and high yields
  • up to 55% clay, similar to Burgundy - good water holding capacity.
  • Pinot Noir & Chardonnay dominant. Other big 6 also grown here.

Compare the three Hemel-en-Aarde wards in the Walker Bay district in the Cape South Coast Region of South Africa

  • Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
    • lowest altitude
    • closest to the cooling Atlantic
    • vineyards north and west aspects
    • wines freshest and brightest style
    • Bouchard Finlayson
  • Upper Hemel-en-Aarde
    • slightly higher in elevation
    • vineyards north and west aspects
    • Newton Johnson Family Vineyards
  • Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge
    • deeper inland
    • smallest
    • coldest and highest (up to 400m)
    • vineyards south and east
    • Babylonstoren Mountains > could trap > collecting moisture and regular shade
    • Hamilton-Russell
    • Creation

How would you describe the style of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Ward? Which factors are causing this?

  • It is fresher and brighter than the areas further inland
  • lowest in altitude
  • closest to the cooling Atlantic ocean
  • %abv can be high, up to 14% - distinct ripeness.

Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge ward

  • The Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge ward is located deeper inland.
  • The smallest but also coldest and highest ward.
  • 400m in elevation.
  • Babylonstoren Mountain act as a cloud trap; collects moisture, provides shade.

Ward Bot River

  • Ward Bot River is warmer than Hemel-en-Aarde but cooler than Paarl en Stellenbosch.
  • Long growing season
    • > Fresh styles of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon blanc.
  • Also Rhône varieties and Pinotage.

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