Weltevreden is a historic wine estate situated on the North West side of Stellenbosch. The estate has a rich history dating back to 1692. It was acquired by the Bezuidenhout family in 2012 and ever since then the property has seen major improvements and renovations with a focus on the history of the Cape Dutch building style and also back to the viticulture and wine roots of Stellenbosch.
After the initial terroir studies we did a soil survey with the guys of Agrimotion. The soil suitability index is 8 out of 10, which makes it very suitable for premium wine grape production, but keeping in mind that over vigorous Syrah makes bad wine, hence why we spaced the vines very narrow, in some parts 80cm apart so that they can compete for nutrients and water.
Developing sites as extreme as this takes lots of planning, especially from a civil point of view. Our biggest concern was erosion and water management. We couldn’t cut contours in the hill, as the excavated volume of soil would be astronomic given the slope of 34 degrees in some sections, so we pulled in Tian King to be part of the team and help us design a practical vineyard, based on the scientific studies I did and also keeping in mind that this would still need to be farmed with relative ease and safety for our tractor drivers and personnel.
Tian is an engineer surveyor with loads of experience in vineyard designs – having been part of some of the most remarkable vineyard developments in South Africa – Riebeeksrivier, Altima, Uva Mira, Taaibosch and Fijnbosch just to name a few…
Over the course of a view months we went through 9 design concepts and tweaks, and in the second week in March of 2020 (just as the first hard lockdown hit us and winter creeping up slowly) the civil work began. Groeneveld Civil Construction was our guys on the ground doing the work with a very limited time frame before the first winter rains hit us.
What a pleasure it was working with such a professional and efficient team. The work was done well before the first rains came (although there was one cold front with a prediction of 100mm rain in 2 days that made us VERY nervous – luckily it toned down to 20mm).
We sowed our cover crops and that was our work done for the year. Now all the roads needed to settle and the covercrops needed to do their job of binding the soil, slowing water down on the hill and giving us organic matter for the coming year