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Winemaking

A sense of place

An exceptional combination of elements.

Officially proclaimed in 1693, Saxenburg is one of the oldest farms in South Africa. Thanks to the combination of the perfect natural conditions and a highly skilled and driven team, our wines have won the highest praise, not only in South Africa, but around the rest of the world.

The terroir at Saxenburg is perfectly suited to Shiraz and it is thanks to this varietal that Saxenburg has become a prominent South African export. Thanks to our wine maker’s belief that exceptional wines are made on the vine, we practise a well-managed system of summer pruning to keep yields low. With fewer bunches left, grapes mature into a finer quality and less craft is required in the cellar.

Although famous for our Shiraz, many of our wines – reds and whites – are enjoyed around the globe.

Saxenburg is situated in the Polkadraai Hills ward in the district of Stellenbosch. This property is rather unique, not only for its magnificent views of Table Mountain but, more importantly, for its exposure to both False Bay and Table Bay. Here, the vineyards experience the influence of cool ocean breezes from both a western and southern direction. As we are positioned along the slopes of the Polkadraai Hills, our elevation rises from 100 to 300 meters above sea level.

The soils on Saxenburg are predominantly derived from granite, at various stages of decomposition, including smaller components of weathered Table Mountain sandstone. The variation in elevation and soil types, coupled with the cooler South and South-West facing slopes to the warmer West and North facing slopes, gives us a truly diverse ‘terroir’.

Over the years, we have carefully selected the sites that are most suitable for each of our varieties.

We firmly believe wine is made in the vineyard and spare no effort during viticultural practices to ensure that each vineyard block is treated individually, to best express our unique ‘terroir’.

Shiraz

Decomposed granite soils, which contribute to a large part of Saxenburg, are especially suited to Shiraz. These less fertile soils reign in the natural vigour of Shiraz and the vines grown on granite give a firm, yet silky, tannin structure, with an enticing aroma.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Our Cabernet Sauvignon is planted lower down on the slope, where the soil is more structured and the vines receive enough heat to fully ripen.

Sauvignon Blanc

Our Sauvignon Blanc plantings are mainly higher up the slope, on the cooler South-West facing aspect of the hill. Here, the vines benefit fully from the cool ocean breezes and produce expressive wines, with elegant minerality.

Chardonnay

Our Chardonnay vineyards are planted on both granite and sandstone as blending the two, in our experience, produces wines with greater complexity and richness.

Cellarmaster and Winemaker

Dirk van Zyl

Wine is the product of a certain place, at a certain time. Therefore, every decision and action taken in the winery is done to bring the best of the terroir (place) and the vintage (time) to the fore.

This starts with deciding on the correct picking date – we aim for beautifully ripened, expressive grapes and stay away from picking under-ripe or overripe.  In the winery, we take care to work gently with our grapes and to never over-extract. Our winemaking philosophy is simplistic, minimalistic and completely focused on producing the best possible wines, that are true reflections of the soils on which they are grown.

We aim for purity and balance and strive to make wines that are as thought-provoking to taste, as they are pleasurable to consume.

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