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If I’d ask you where the oldest block of Sauvignon blanc in South Africa stood, what would be your first thought? Constantia? Stellenbosch?

The answer is actually the Swartland. Yes, the Swartland has the oldest Sauvignon blanc vineyard in South Africa, planted in 1965 and resides under the umbrella of Charles Back of Fairview/Spiceroute. The Swartland is generally known for its old Cinsaut, Tinta Barocca, Chenin blanc and Palomino vineyards. How this Sauvignon blanc managed to stay rooted in the weathered granite soils of the Swartland for all these years can only be due to the phenomenal fruit these old, gnarled vineyards produce.

In search of new and interesting places to produce wines in the late 1990s, Spice Route Owner Charles Back stumbled upon a tank of Sauvignon Blanc in a Swartland cooperative. The wine was of such a high quality that he found it difficult to believe that it hailed from the Swartland – a warm area from which one would not generally expect such a fine Sauvignon Blanc.
Driven by both excitement and disbelief, Charles set out to inspect the vineyard responsible for producing the surprising wine. His incredulity was further heightened when he arrived at the home of the vineyard – a derelict old tobacco farm playing host to South Africa’s oldest Sauvignon Blanc block.
Planted in 1965, the persevering old dryland bushvine inspired Charles to explore the unchartered potential of the land, and it was thus that the Spice Route Wine Company was born on the farm (known as Klein Amoskuil) in 1997.” –

These vines are in the privileged position that their caretakers are none other than legends Prof Eben Archer and since recently Rosa Kruger, and after our visit to this vineyard yesterday, I can see these vines reach their centenarian status one day…

Prof Eben Archer and Rosa Kruger

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