THE ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY – HOME TO FINE WINES
Situated in the fertile Robertson Wine Valley, Rietvallei Wine Estate enjoys one of the best locations for wine production. This fertile valley is the birthplace of some of South Africa’s finest wines.
This wine-growing area is situated in the Breede River Valley region in the Western Cape, roughly 160km east of Cape Town. This is where some of the county’s leading wine estates are found. An ideal climate, terroir and soil make the Robertson Wine Valley the perfect place to grow red and white wine varietals. In this guide, we share some of the factors making this valley a prime location for wine production.
WHAT MAKES THE ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY UNIQUE?
The Robertson Wine Valley is home to a selection of acclaimed wine farms. As an award-winning estate and one of the oldest family-owned in the region, Rietvallei is proud to be part of the region’s esteemed wine route. The location of any wine estate makes all the difference to the diversity and quality of wines produced. In the Robertson Valley, there are a few key factors that contribute to the region’s success in grape growing and wine production.
Climate plays a major role in wine-growing. Globally, there are many grape varietals that thrive in numerous climates. Robertson’s climate is hot and dry, making it optimal for the growth of premium grapes. While the region has low rainfall, irrigation is provided by the Breede River. Moisture blown in by south-easterly winds coming from the Indian Ocean 90km away brings further cooling and moisture. During the day, temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius and higher, while temperatures drop significantly at night. The diurnal temperatures give grapes a chance to cool at night. This ensures that acidity is retained, without losing the complex flavours of the grapes. Cool winters give vines a dormancy period before the next growing season.
Terroir plays an integral role in wine production. Robertson has a diversity of landscapes, each influenced by meso-climate, soil type and soil aspect. The main part of the valley is situated next to the Breede River. Here, the land is fairly flat, with a variety of terroirs. The land changes to rolling hills near the base of the Sonderend and Langeberg Mountains, with many different terroirs. This variety in terroirs allows for different grapes to thrive.
Another key factor in wine production is soil. The diversity of terroirs means a diversity of soil types, each suited to different grape varietals. Gravelly, red loam soils from the Karoo are the most dominant soil types and are often very calcareous, with a high capacity to hold water. Residual soils such as the Malmsburg and Bokkeveld shale soils include weathered sites with a high water-holding capacity and less weathered sites with a moderate to low water-holding capacity. Another soil type, rich alluvial soil can be found on the banks of the Breede River.
The unique combination of climate, terroir and soils give every wine produced in this region its rich, complex flavour. Explore the Rietvallei wine collection and you will soon see why the Robertson Wine Valley is considered the home of exceptional wines.