Winemaking

Meticulous care and handling

One of the secrets of the Kleinood wines lies in picking at exactly the right time. Each year the team inspects the vineyards from an aerial perspective. This allows them to do an infrared survey of the vineyards, thus determining vigour and ripeness of different areas in each block. Each area is then picked accordingly.

“The vines and grapes undergo extensive monitoring throughout the year to ensure that we understand our vineyards and learn how to farm them better,” says Gunter. “In this manner we establish the pruning weight of the pruned shoots, the weight of the bunches, the size and weight of the berries etcetera for each block, affording us the opportunity to create the correct balance between terroir, vine and grape,” he explains.

The Kleinood team is also hard at work establishing a fully sustainable ecosystem in their vineyards. All prunings are mulched and composted together with crushed grape skins and stems as well as all compostable materials from the gardens. The resulting compost is transferred straight back into the vineyards, orchards and gardens. This practice reduces the need for fungicides and pesticides. Traffic in the vineyards is also reduced to an absolute minimum, thus keeping the soil loose and healthy.

Grapes are selected in the vineyards on a regular basis from the start of veraison and as many as five passes are conducted before the grapes are finally picked and brought to the cellar in small picking boxes.

Attention to detail – every step of the way.

The distinctive, yet characteristically understated, labels are hand printed with an antique press on hand made paper torn to size by hand and stuck onto each individual bottle by hand. The front label bears only the name and vintage of the wine. The back label states its provenance. The sole insignia depicts a sheep bearing a flag, derived from the official de Villiers family crest.

Although the first Rhône style Syrah was bottled in 2002, the Syrah 2003 was the first to be released on the market, followed by the 2006 maiden vintage Viognier. The wines have been lauded by critics and wine lovers alike, with the Syrah 2006 receiving 4.5 stars in the Platter’s Wine Guide and the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Viognier each receiving the same stellar rating in this acclaimed guide.

“I created our first single vineyard wine, the John Spicer Syrah 2009, purely on the outstanding and unique character of the wine produced by this vineyard year after year. I wished to keep it separate as the ultimate expression of our terroir, supporting the philosophy that great wines are made in the vineyard.” explains winemaker Gunter Shultz.

The de Villiers’ approach to establishing their own wine label, though determinedly low key, is underpinned by a dedication to producing a singular and intensely personal wine of the highest quality.

"The vines and grapes undergo extensive monitoring throughout the year to ensure that we understand our vineyards and learn how to farm them better."