GD News

Alheit Vineyards joins Great Domaines portfolio in Gauteng

Dear Reader,

We are very excited to welcome husband-and-wife team Chris and Suzaan Alheit, of Alheit Vineyards, to the Great Domaines family of producers in Gauteng. Chris and Suzaan, over a short period of time and despite their young age, have attracted celebrity-like status both on home soil and abroad, and it all comes down to a collection of white wines that now sit alongside the Cape’s very best. A big part of the success of Alheit Vineyards is that classic example of talented youth having gotten their hands dirty at various wine estates around the world and bringing it back home. Their hands-on experience during harvests overseas and their admiration for the finest European wines have inspired them to create “very South African wine”.

The Alheits share a similar philosophy to one which is central to most of the producers in our Great Domaines portfolio: a focus on terroir. More than 80% of Chris and Suzaan’s attention is dedicated to the health of the vineyards; farming in tandem with nature to encourage healthy soils. They are fortunate to work with the most extraordinary old, dry-farmed bush-vine vineyards in the Cape. Most of the vineyards are 30 to 40-years-old (if not older) and truly represent the heritage of the Cape.

“Our goals are simple. We want to make wines with a clear sense of Cape identity. We want to show that the Cape’s vinous heritage is worth celebrating and protecting. We love old vineyards. We love dry farming. We love bush vines. We think that ‘ordinary grapes’ are in fact wonderful. We believe that great things are possible here in the Cape, and that we are now just scratching the surface of what can be done.”
Chris and Suzaan Alheit

The winemaking approach at Alheit Vineyards is very minimalist and follows principles learnt in Europe; crafting wines of elegance and restraint that still show ample concentration, but never of excess weight. All grapes are gently whole-bunch pressed and there is no addition of enzymes, sulphur or yeast. Natural fermentation only occurs in old barrels and the wines are not racked off. The wines are kept on the lees for around 12 months before being left to rest in tank. A further four months are allowed for wines to sit in bottle (no fining) before being released.
With a focus on very low yielding bush-vines, the Alheits’ production is very small. Their flagship wine, Cartology, which was launched in 2011, swiftly became one of the Cape’s top white blends and highly sought-after.

“Cartology. Everything from the philosophical, terroir-driven winemaker to the vines to the profound wine and even the packaging, attest to the pinnacles that can be reached.”
Neal Martin

Cartology, a blend of heritage Cape grapes, namely Chenin Blanc and Sémillon, is a blend of several parcels of bush-vines. Over the years, the Alheits have crafted a remarkable range of single vineyard Cape heritage white wines.

Pictured above, from right to left:

Cartology | W.O. Western Cape | 90% Chenin Blanc, 10% Sémillon
Broom Ridge | W.O. Swartland (Paardeberg) | 100% Chenin Blanc
Nautical Dawn | W.O. Stellenbosch | 100% Chenin Blanc
Huilkrans | W.O. Citrusdal Mountain | 100% Chenin Blanc
Magnetic North | W.O. Citrusdal Mountain | 100% Chenin Blanc
Hemelrand Vine Garden | W.O. Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge | estate white wine blend
Lost & Found | W.O. Breedekloof | 100% Hanepoot

The official release of Alheit Vineyards’ new vintages for 2021 will take place on the 1st of September. Due to the limited availability, the wines will be released to establishments in the trade and to our private customers on an allocation basis only. As such, this is your first opportunity to get in touch with your account manager if you would like to be added to the list.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Chris and Suzaan, a conversation which started many years ago. This relationship ticks all the necessary boxes for Great Domaines – wines representing the pinnacle of quality in South Africa made by fantastic people in an authentic way from special vineyard sites in the country. We look forward to a long, wine-fuelled future together!”
Derek Kilpin | General Manager & Founding Partner at GD

Thank you.

Kind regards,
The Great Domaines team.