Our soils are predominantly decomposed granite on the slopes of Groenberg, a very unique and very old development of the various layers of decomposed granite that had decomposed from the higher Limietberg mountain range that lies behind it, with the upper layers of varying depths of 300mm to 800mm with the lower soils being decomposed clay. The terroir is a combination of rolling hills facing a western direction which gives us good south facing, the cool ones, planting areas. Our highest vines are at a 1000 feet above sea level looking straight into Table Mountain
We have a total of 110 hectares of fine vineyards planted that are all producing great fruit. Some of the older vines are older that 40 years that produce outstanding fruit, then we have new cultivars that are of the latest clones. This gives the cellar a variety of fruit flavours to be able to on a continuous basis, produce wines that are made for the discerning wine drinker and as a food wine.
Only supplemental irrigation is applied and due to our soils, the average pH of our fruit varies from 2,9 to 3,2 which allows for the making of well-structured wines that last for a long time.
We are also compliant to BWI, the Biodiversity Wine Initiative, whose members pride themselves as champions of sustainable farming and everything that we do, from the eradication of alien plants to how we use chemicals and water is to listen to nature and to ensure that we ensure the sustainability of our actions.
We are also judged according to IPW, the Integrated Production of Wine, scorecard and have achieved 87% in our latest audit which determines factors such as; sustainable farming, labour practices, farming practices, chemicals used etc. in both the viticulture as well as the viniculture on the Estate.
The 12 cultivars that we produce on Welbedacht are:
White: Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc
Red: Cinsaut, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Merlot, Mourvedre.
Our cellar, designed to suit our fruit, built in 2004 and first used for our harvest of 2005, has been incrementally enlarged from 150 tons to where it now can process 1200 tons.
The philosophy behind the cellar was to have various attributes such as: open cement fermenters for the red wines which empties with gravity into wooden basket press, 14 ton bag press, bulk filter equipment that only works very soft with our wines, big pre-cooling capacity, special receiving area, ease of use & beautifull views.
The cellar which boasts an array of local and international awards has shown why Schalk Snr designed the cellar to suit the superlative low yielding fruit that we get from the terroir on the Estate combined with old world techniques like manual punch-downs in the open cement fermenters, wooden basket press and in the maturation room for our oak barrels.
The soils on the property have been extensively replanted and the cellar now boasts the best of old-world traditions, which combine seamlessly with the latest in world class technology. Winemaking remains uncompromisingly traditional in many aspects, allowing the superlative low yielding fruit to express each subtle nuance. Open top cement fermenters and a basket press add undeniable authenticity to the wine making process, ultimately producing wines of immense character and impressive longevity.
The winemaking team under order from cellarmaster, Lucilia Ramos, are constantly surprised by new flavours from the unique vineyards. When you’ve got both old and new vineyards, your range of options is much wider. A bit of everything is brought to the cellar and the best is added to the best. Schalk has a strong inclination for practical things. Three things count: aesthetics, the practical and the economical. In this case it is the practical, although it does not detract from the intrinsic value of the total package.
Schalk sums it all up very well: “I would like to think that the people, who drink our wines, are aware of the fact that this is a traditional farm with specific values. There’s emotion behind these wines. Everyone who drinks them should go through a helluva taste experience. The wine is not pretentious.
It’s solid and honest!”