Despite the modern nature of our facilities and our progressive approach to winemaking, Saronsberg will always be inextricably linked to the history of the land and the valley of which it forms a part.
Flanked on all sides by mountains in the Upper Breede River Valley, Tulbagh is utterly unique in its topography and natural beauty. It was this special character that attracted the first settlers here over three hundred years ago, and the same quality which led to the selection of Tulbagh as the site for Saronsberg winery. Recognising the distinctive terroir and potential of the valley, Saronsberg has joined the mission initially led by Rijk’s Cellar to prove the region’s capacity for producing wines of outstanding quality.
Saronsberg consists of two farm portions formerly known as Waveren and Welgegund. The farm originally formed part of the beautiful and historic Twee Jonge Gezellen (TJG) until it was divided between the two Krone brothers in the 1950s. Waveren and Welgegund, which lie on either side of TJG, were acquired in 2002 and renamed after the commanding mountain whose slopes are home to a portion of their vines: Saronsberg. The two sites are distinctly different in terroir, with broad disparities in altitude, aspect, soil type, wind and rainfall patterns and temperature producing grapes with strongly contrasting characteristics. The immediate construction of a cellar was not part of the initial plan, but a wild fire two months after the acquisition of the farm meant the original strategy of gradually replanting vineyards had to be re-assessed.
Although the farm’s best vineyards – most located on a section of Welgegund known locally as “Die Erf” – were saved, a more assertive planting programme was initiated in 2003. Fatefully, this allowed newly appointed winemaker Dewaldt Heyns to reverse some outdated viticultural thinking, as he reconstituted his vineyards using the experience he’d accrued since the first day he set foot in a vineyard as a young boy on his father’s grape farm in Malmesbury.
On 25 January 2004, Saronsberg’s winemaking history officially began with the harvest of our first Sauvignon Blanc grapes – a momentous occasion that was celebrated 2 weeks later with a harvest party, then again the following year when Saronsberg reaped numerous awards for the 2004 vintage.
A consistent level of excellence since the outstanding 2004 vintage has annually earned Saronsberg a notable collection of awards and accolades, while the unwavering commitment to producing wines of such quality helped Dewaldt earn membership of the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild – an association of the best winemakers in South Africa aimed at raising the quality and international profile of South African winemaking – in late 2007. While regarding the appointment to the guild as a privilege and challenge to work even harder to improve his own winemaking skills, Dewaldt believes the honour is primarily a reflection on the passion and zeal of Saronsberg’s dedicated vineyard and cellar teams.
To undescore our commitment to the land we are proud to be members of the Integrated Production of Wine. Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) is a voluntary environmental sustainability scheme established by the South African wine industry in 1998. Certification of IPW compliance falls under the jurisdiction of the Wine and Spirit Board (WSB), with a dedicated IPW office responsible for administering the scheme since its promulgation in 1998.
IPW complies with international wine industry environmental sustainability criteria, including the 'Global Wine Sector Environmental Sustainability Principles' as published by the International Federation of Wine and Spirits (FIVS) and the 'OIV. Guidelines for sustainable Viti-viniculture: Production, processing and packaging of products' as published by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). The production practices on farms and/or cellars of persons joining the scheme are evaluated and audited by the board. We take our social responsibility also serious and are members of the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trading Organisation (WIETA). WIETA was formally established in November 2002. The association arose out of an Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) pilot project in the wine industry in the late 90s The pilot not only assisted the ETI, its retail corporate members and South African partners in learning about, developing and refining inspection methodologies in monitoring their base code, but was also instrumental in bringing together private sector, labour and civil society stakeholders in and associated with the wine industry of the Western Cape to discuss and debate issues around ethical trade. Saronsberg also underscores the principles of BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative) which is a partnership between individual farms and the conservation sector with the aim of conserving the existing natural fauna and flora and through sustainable farming practices preserving it for future generations. Apart from vineyards, Saronsberg is also in the process of establishing fruit orchards and olive groves on the more fertile soils, with the aim of diversifying production. The potential for producing premium quality olives and olive oils was confirmed in 2009 when Saronsberg’s first vintage of olive oil was pressed.
In 2013 sixteen newly renovated self-catering cottages were opened to the public. For those who wish to get away from the city and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Tulbagh valley it is an ideal getaway.