Old Road Wine Company
There is something about an old vine. Something mysterious, intangible but unmistakably distinctive. Its history interwoven with the soil in which it is rooted, branching out to the farm, the town and the wine region surrounding.
In the Franschhoek Valley, these magnificent old vines have helped to forge a reputation of quality and excellence that spans over generations. As vintners of Franschhoek and keepers of this legacy, they pay tribute to these special vines through the Old Road Wine Co.
Made in a cellar standing proudly in the towns old main road, they tell the stories that have shaped history. Of pockets of earth that have yielded the fruit an illustrious industry was founded on by the characters who have now become legends.
Of vines revered like a tree of life that gives sustenance to its environment, enduring through time and the harshest elements.
The stories of these unique vines and people with their rich heritage still resonate in the wines Old Road produces today.
Wines with character and staying power. Wines that speak not only to the senses, but stir something in the soul.
Ryan Puttick, Head Winemaker for Old Road Wine Co., grew up on a crop farm near Hartswater, Northern Cape. Raised just about as far away as possible from the Cape Winelands, it seemed unlikely that he would choose winemaking as a career. Yet, inspiration can strike anywhere, and it was thanks to his father than Ryan’s inner oenophile burgeoned: “Every Sunday lunch, my parents allowed me to smell and taste the wine they were enjoying. My Dad would take the time to explain all the specific nuances of the wine he was drinking, and I was fascinated,” reflects Ryan.
After completing his tertiary studies at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute near Stellenbosch, Ryan expanded his palate knowledge by spending two harvest seasons in Germany. During this time, he honed his appreciation for the industry, where “everybody knows just about everybody” and developed a passion for unconventional grape varieties, blending and site-specific wines.
His enthusiasm for the industry has also prepared him to face any difficulties with guts and guile. “I am someone who thrives on challenges. As a problem solver, I assess the situation, my options, optimal outcome and then act accordingly,” he explains.
His deep-seated passion for working with old vines and in tandem with nature has steadily infiltrated his artisanal winemaking approach. “My philosophy is to respect the fruit that the vineyard has given you, with minimal intervention.” By respecting each vineyard as a unique terroir, Ryan and his winemaking team work diligently to ensure that the wine and brand philosophy is synchronized, reflecting the terroir from where the grapes are sourced - particularly in the case of the prized Single Vineyard wines.
For Ryan, it’s a delicate interplay between nature and nurture, resulting in wines that are made with individual batches of premium fruit that offer the fullest expression of their origin. “It’s really exciting to be part of Old Road Wine Co., as the goal is that the terroir must speak for itself – the ultimate goal for any winemaker,” he ends.
VineyardsPepper Wind Syrah Vineyard
Their Pepper Wind Vineyard sits just under the famous Franschhoek “cloudfall’ created by the consistent South Easterly wind blowing over the Franschhoek Mountains. The wind is responsible for cooling the vineyard in the late afternoon and evening and is instrumental in the ‘peppery’ characteristic found in the wine.
Stone Trail Chenin Blanc Vineyard
The Stone Trail vineyard is 39 years-old and was planted in 1982. It is part of the Old Vine Project and is one of the very few Certified Old Vine Chenin Blanc vineyards in Franschhoek. It grows at an altitude of 380m above sea level and is unirrigated, which gives these berries loads of concentration.
Grand-mère Semillon Vineyard
The Grand-mère Semillon vineyards were planted in 1936 and this amazing old vineyard shows such grace and tenacity – exactly like a family matriarch to which the name pays homage. These old bush vines have found perfect balance between vigour and yields over decades, resulting in an excellent, textured wine.