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PARTNER CONTENT: The history of one of Robertson's most beloved wine farms - Excelsior

And the heart-warming story behind the estates's barrel-aged Chardonnay.

26 Feb 2019
excelsior wine farm

The De Wet family have farmed at Excelsior Estate in Robertson since 1859, despite having previously settled in Worcester. Koos fell in love with his brother’s fiancé, so made his way to the Robertson area and established himself at Excelsior!

He later divided the farm between his sons, who went on to breed horses and plant vineyards. The third brother, “Kowie” inherited the farm, and in addition to producing wine, became a successful ostrich breeder.

Wine has always been made on the estate. It is now the most important crop on the farm with Excelsior exporting wine to over 20 countries. The farm has 220 hectares planted with noble cultivars; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are also small plantings of blending cultivars such as Petit Verdot and Viognier. 

5th generation owner, Peter de Wet’s aim is to produce full-bodied wines that display intense fruit. This through sparing use of chemicals thanks to the dry Robertson climate, and picking the grapes by hand, allow greater quality control.

"At Excelsior, we produce real wine made by real people. Our grapes are lovingly picked by hand to ensure a quality full-bodied wine that displays intense fruit," says De Wet.

The Excelsior Manor Guesthouse offers luxury accommodation on a working wine farm. Once a family home, the Cape Dutch Revival Manor has been lovingly restored and offers elegant comfort and serenity along with personal hospitality. Summer days can be spent beside the deep blue swimming pool on the secluded wooden deck found while taking in breathtakingly panoramic views of the vineyards and the Langeberg Mountain ranges. Perfect for those who prefer to earn their glass of wine on a mountain bike.

Wake up to freshly baked ‘roosterbrood’ sandwiches from Graze@excelsior which has a large expanse of lawn in front of it - perfect for the kids, who are kept occupied on the jungle gym, in the sandpit or feeding the horses. In Summer there is a child-minder to take them fishing off the dam’s jetty. The traditional bread is baked every morning in a wood-fired oven and prepared using, where possible, local produce. 

Vinophiles can blend, bottle and label their 'Own Creation' in Excelsior’s tasting room, situated on the water’s edge of the farm dam, which is abundant with birdlife.

Adding to the family feel, the farm’s most recent addition - the Chardonnay Christine Norah-Ann de Wet was not given time to make. Born during the great Laingsburg floods of 1981, Norah-Ann and her mother were trapped in the hospital, surviving on a cup of water a day, food rations and a candle stub for light. This unprecedented start to life probably contributed to Norah-Anne’s fighting spirit, but nothing could have prepared her for the battle against cancer, which she fought courageously to the very end.

Having often spoken about making a barrel-aged Chardonnay, Peter de Wet has done exactly that in her honour. So whenever the family pours a glass of her Chardonnay, they will raise a glass in memory of this daughter, sister and mother. The Excelsior Norah Chardonnay 2018 – of which only 1000 bottles were produced - is beautifully fresh and frisky, yet given depth and complexity from its nine months in used French oak. A beautiful wine for Summer occasions, it will continue to offer enjoyment through the cooler months, partnering al fresco occasions with panache.

Excelsior Norah

Follow Excelsior on social media:

Twitter: @excelsior_wine

Instagram: @excelsiorwine

Facebook: @ExcelsiorWines

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