Anthonij Rupert Wyne was founded on the farm L’Ormarins in Franschhoek. Originally owned by the late Anthonij Rupert, who passed away in 2001, the farm was taken over by his brother Johann Rupert in 2003. It was Johann Rupert who constructed a state-of-the-art winemaking facility on the estate, and the beginnings of what was to become a sprawling enterprise with a focus on terroir-specific wines.
Set on the slopes of the Great Drakenstein Mountain range the Rupert Wines Estate comprises three historic farms: L’Ormarins, Rooderust and Altima.
In 1714, approximately 51 Ha was granted to Jean Roi in the Franschhoek Valley. He was a French Huguenot from the town Lourmarin in Provence, France. Naming the land after his hometown in France he immediately planted 4000 vines on a farm earmarked exclusively for wine and grain production. In 1799 a cellar was built on the estate and in the 19th Century acted as a communal cellar for all the families in the district, each having been allocated a large vat with their family crest carved on the front.
A combination of low lying land and moderate to steep slopes, with an altitude of up to 580m offers a variety of microclimates within the terroirs well-suited to a number of varietals. Syrah is planted on warmer, northerly facing slopes with better drainage at different altitudes. Merlot is planted on the cooler easterly facing, higher altitude areas and is vertically trellised. Sauvignon Blanc is also planted on these slopes, but on a higher slope to ensure the vines are subjected to the cooler temperatures required for this varietal.
Situated in a high rainfall area L’Ormarins has an annual average temperature of 28.8℃. During January and February, the temperature can easily rise above 32℃, the temperature at which vines shut down. We, therefore, employ a number of techniques to counteract the heat, such as Guyot pruning. Our Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon blocks are mostly planted with the movement of the hot afternoon sun taken into consideration in an attempt to prevent exposure of bunches to direct sunlight.
Rooderust farm was purchased in 1998 and today forms the most stable, dependable member in the portfolio. With approximately 120 ha under vine on even land in the Darling area, it is just 13km from the Atlantic Ocean, benefiting from its cooling breeze and practically perfect for cultivating grapes in the hot African sun.
Set 13km from the Atlantic Ocean the farm is situated in a low rainfall area, with an annual average of 400 to 500mm of rain, experiencing cooler days in the ripening months of January and February due to the sea breezes on hot summer afternoons. The entire 120 hectares is clear of leaf roll virus (red and white vines) and grapes can happily obtain full ripeness every season.
The predominantly granite soils containing a percentage of clay consistently produces wines with good weight and structure. Hence the plethora of cultivars planted here. Besides the grapes, Rooderust also specialises in wheat and livestock.
Altima was purchased in 2008 from the Ovenstone Family. Situated in the isolated Elandskloof valley just north of Villiersdorp, it is 5km wide and surrounded by a steep mountain range rising 1km from the valley floor. There are only four farms in the valley, of which Altima is the only developed vineyard farm. The surrounding mountains are all nature reserves typically covered in snow during the winter months, with only one road connecting the valley to the rest of the world via a treacherous pass. Originally planted with pine and apple trees, these were mostly removed when Rupert Wines started cultivating the farm, only leaving a small patch of pine trees and the rest to vine.
Vineyards are planted from 600m above sea-level, with the highest vineyard planted at 878m. The steep topography causes the valley to receive less direct sunlight, due to the overshadowing mountains, which together with the elevation makes for a distinct cool climate.
With a total average rainfall of 906mm per year, irrigation is generally unnecessary before the end of December. Coupled with the huge difference in temperatures between night and day, this continental climate is perfect for grapevine development for two reasons: Excellent development of acid and aromas as a result of the slow ripening period and the absence of heat waves during January and February. The resultant high acid and low pH of the grapes contributes to the aging potential of the wines produced from these vines.
This unique terroir produces wine with high natural acidity and upfront aromas. Grapes are harvested much later than other sites, with harvest starting at the beginning of April only. The vineyards produce an intense Sauvignon Blanc with a fresh expression of gooseberry, citrus, and freshly cut grass. Other than wine, the Estate has also proven to be the perfect breeding ground, and one of the first in South Africa, to cultivate Black Perigord truffles - offering seasonal tours to the farm to discover these earthy delights.