New wines must have a seriously tough time entering the South African market. According to WOSA (Wines of South Africa), 2013 saw 3323 wine producers in the industry, and then we still have the variety of grapes creating different styles of wines. So how does a new wine capture our interest?
Winemakers lately have been adding little twists to old classics like Solms-Delta’s Cape Jazz Shiraz for instance. But there is a new winemaker filling our glasses that has unintentionally captured the hearts of wine drinkers. Patricia J L Werdmuller von Elgg is not only making organic wine and stocking the shelves of Woolworths, her story is adding to the richness of the wine she produces. After all, the underlying story can change one’s entire perception.
Patricia acquired the farm known as Hout Baai, situated just outside McGregor, 12 years ago. Born in India and after spending a considerable amount of time in Mooi River, this, then 72 year old lady, took a risk that few would do at her age. The place was initially intended as a refuge for abandoned and wild animals and today serves as a welfare and emergency unit for animals of all kinds.
The introduction of grape and wine production to the farm took a number of years. Patricia developed a desire to expand her knowledge of viticulture and to put this knowledge into good use. This desire came from a history of mixed farming and entrepreneurial tendencies, and of course the backdrop of the McGregor mountains would have set the ideal scene for a wine farm. Patricia took the run-down, forgotten farm and turned it into an organic wine and animal friendly hub.
Patricia developed a relationship with Rooiberg Winemakers who started buying her grapes in 2004. This later lead to the certification of her grapes as organic in 2008, which lead to Woolworths adding her bubbly to its select quality wine range. Today Patricia, together with Rooiberg, produce the Solara organic Sauvignon Blanc the wine that donates R3 to Landmark Foundation for leopard research and welfare.
Patricia’s story is truly inspiring and touching. She has created a place that celebrates animal and human interaction, coupled with a delicious organic wine. Drinking a bottle of Solara brings upon those warm and fuzzy feelings as well as tastes of asparagus, ripe fig and a deliciously lingering spicy undertone. Go enjoy a bottle of this gem of a wine.