5 Revolutionary Winemakers of Swartland

1 of 5

It’s not easy to start a revolution. When it comes to a winemaking region with hundreds of years of history—and corresponding traditions—it’s especially difficult to challenge conventional wisdom.

There always seem to be visionaries, however, who see beyond the status quo.

Located about an hour’s drive northeast of Cape Town, the Swartland is home to vast wheat fields that cover most of its landscape. As the Cape’s traditional breadbasket, the region’s wine quality was often overshadowed by areas like Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch.

It wasn’t until 1997 that the region started to garner buzz, when Fairview’s Charles Back purchased vineyards in the Swartland and opened a new project called Spice Route. Back’s arrival sparked a surge of private estates investing in the region.

It also signaled greater quality potential for the wines. Spice Route’s inaugural releases from young winemaker Eben Sadie eschewed the region’s then-common styles of big, high-alcohol reds and off-dry whites.

In 2010, The Swartland Revolution—a weekend celebration of the region’s wines, with ticketed tastings, seminars and meals—was born, brainchild of the new Swartland Independent Producers association.

The mission: To improve quality standards and educate consumers about the unique “Swartlandness”—what traditionalists might call terroir—found within the region’s wines.

Now in its fifth year, the key players behind The Swartland Revolution have been integral to the region’s development. They produce must-try wines that convey a sense of place, putting South Africa more firmly on the global wine map.

—Lauren Buzzeo 
Photos Maree Louw

Join Wine Enthusiast at six other South African wineries to talk terroir, top wine picks and tourism opportunities with winemakers >>>

1 of 5
Edit Module
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

See Other Slideshows

How Somms Get Their Stars

Here are three common roads to becoming a wine pro.

5 Twists on The Classic Bloody Mary

Bartenders are rethinking the hair-of-the-dog brunch classic, and their new, mouthwatering creations will have you asking: What took so long?

5 Mardi Gras Cocktails to Try

Bring a taste of the Big Easy home this Mardi Gras with these festive drinks.

12 Top Carmenéres of Chile

Idiosyncratic Carmenère has found a comfortable home in Chile’s warm valleys.

5 Revolutionary Winemakers of Swartland

1 of 5
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit Module

Subscribe

You can unsubscribe at any time. View an example of our newsletter.

Edit Module
Edit Module

Shop

Edit Module
>
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit Module

Related Web Articles