In the mid 1970s, patriarch Spatz Sperling’s far-sightedness led him to buy 80 hectares of prime red-wine land on Klapmutskop, which is situated about 3km’s from Delheim, as the crow flies in a westerly direction. He recognised the growing consumer interest in red wines, but also realised that the Delheim farm was too cool to ripen red varieties sufficiently in order to produce quality red wines. On this property, affectionately referred to as “Vera Cruz” or “Delvera”, Cabernet Sauvignon, predominantly grown as bush vines and today aged between 15 and 37 years, thrives in these deep, red soils, as do Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
In 2012, a decision was made to re-align vineyards with the estate’s vision. Vineyards heavily infected with leaf-roll virus and Eutypa (wood-rot), and vineyards mismatched regarding their terroir, were uprooted (40 ha) and replanted. New vineyards include Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
1. Delheim – the hub of it all
900 mm annual rainfall
Delheim has 36 ha (fully planted 50ha) planted exclusively with white varieties, predominantly Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Weisser Riesling. Bar one vineyard (3ha) of high density Chardnonnay, Delheim is completely unirrigated. Deep soils of decomposed granite (Oakleaf soil form) with a water holding capacity of approximately 65-70mm per meter of soil depth, allows for large water reservoir to sustain growth and eventually well buffered ripening conditions with adequate but not excessive water constraint. The vineyards lie on slopes created by the ancient flow of the Klippies (stone) river at the foot of the Simonsberg mountain (peak 1399m). Vineyards are located at altitudes ranging from 320m to 480m above sea level. The Klippies river cuts Delheim in half, creating two distinctive expositions/slopes/aspects, namely a warmer north -western slope and cooler south-westerly slopes. Wine originating from the warmer slopes tend to be fuller and more fruit driven, while the cooler south westerly slopes’ wines tend to be more leaner and elegant.
3D Vineyard Map of the Delheim Property
|Oakleaf soil profile||Tukulu soil profile|
2. Vera Cruz – 3km as the crow flies in westerly direction
650 mm annual rainfall
The Vera Cruz property has 85ha (fully planted 100 ha) planted to both red (74 ha) and white varieties (11ha). The reds are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz, while the whites include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. Approximately 50 % of the vineyards are fitted with drip irrigation while the remaining half is farmed unirrigated. Being so close to Delheim and the Simonsberg, the soils are also from decomposed granite, but in a slightly more weathered state. Thus common soil forms are Oakleaf as well as Vilafonté with a higher proportion of sand and quartz fragments. The Vera Cruz property also profits from a cool south-westerly slope, but is slightly lower in elevation compared to Delheim, with the vineyards starting at 190m altitude and reaches a maximum of 350m above sea level. Being lower in elevation (slightly warmer), having soils that are slightly more weathered (thus less water holding capacity 55 – 65 mm/meter soil), and receiving about 250 mm less rainfall than Delheim make it ideal for growing quality red grapes. The greater water constraints during ripening is ideal for flavour and tannin development in the berries. Late ripening varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon receives supplementary irrigation via drip to maintain ideal plant water status during ripening.
3D Vineyard Map of the Vera Cruz Property
Aspect Map of the Vera Cruz Property