Winemaking at De Grendel is a careful balance between science and art.
The meticulous care of the vineyards allows the grapes to express the environment in which they are grown and their distinctive varietal character. Careful harvesting and gentle handling in the cellar, combined with the winemaker's passionate practice of their craft, carry the wines throughout the journey from fruit into wine.
The state of the art winery is respectful of the age-old traditions of winemaking yet firmly and uncompromisingly modern in technological advancements, a perfect marriage of old and new.
Charles Hopkins – Cellar Master
Charles Hopkins has been at De Grendel for over 10 years, since the first wines were produced on the Estate. He was lured to De Grendel from Graham Beck Wines in Franschoek when Sir David Graaff offered him the opportunity to not only head up winemaking at the new estate, but also to design and build his own cellar.
Modest and unassuming, Charles studied at Elsenburg, and in 1990 was appointed winemaker for Bellingham Wines.
He is one of South Africa’s most highly regarded winemakers, a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and former chairman of the South African Wine Show Association.
Charles is passionate about his craft, often going abroad to study winemaking. He has spent harvest seasons in the Sonoma Valley, California, and in Bordeaux, France. Over the last ten years he has also conducted study tours to Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and France.
Quality is not a goal, it’s a journey.
The De Grendel cellar sits majestically elevated on the fynbos-covered slopes of the Tygerberg with a postcard-perfect panorama of Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town.
It was built in accord with its surroundings, with tones of sand and slate combining both traditional and contemporary materials. Although modern in design, it references the colonial architecture of the main house, with its deep shaded stoep and big arched windows to take in the views, sea breezes and the views of the dam below.
The late Sir David Graaff consulted with renowned Johannesburg-based geomancer, Ying-Chung Tsai, to ensure that the building was located in an auspicious position.
Geomancy encourages us to build in optimum harmony with the elements. Feng Shui has been used for thousands of years and actually uses a lot of common sense in terms of design and position.
– Sir David Graaff
The building is designed around the practical considerations of both the process of winemaking, and the experience of wine tasting. A ramp leads you from the tasting room into the belly of the building, through different layers and levels and to the glass-roomed restaurant on the floor below where the breathtaking Table Mountain vistas open up.
De Grendel is not a terroir winemaker, preferring to blend wines from different regions to create our award-winning wines. Our grapes are harvested from two principal vineyards.
The slopes of the Tygerberg, which face the setting sun, offer cooling breezes off the cold Antarctic Benguela current from the Atlantic Ocean only 7 kilometres away.
The breezes alleviate the summer heat allowing De Grendel’s grapes to hang for longer before they reach their perfect ripeness. Longer hang time means better colour and flavour in our wines.
This climate, combined with a soil combination of blue shale, glen rosa and oak leaf is perfect for cultivating Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
The Graaffs have been farming near Ceres for generations, and recognised that the Witzenberg mountains, almost a kilometre above sea level, were the perfect cold climate to allow the grapes to hang for longer - perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This vintage of “Op die Berg” Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be the first from the newly-created appellation of Ceres Plateau.