At Bellingham, success begins in the vineyard

Great wine is made in the vineyard. It is a much-used saying, but nevertheless fittingly describes the Bellingham philosophy. Seasoned viticulturist Stephan Joubert heads the vineyard team and sums up their job as simply: “To source the best grapes on the best sites for the style of wine required.”

To this end, he draws on his experience and extensive tastings of wines from the different grape-growing regions in South Africa. Geographic information system (GIS) technology and maps are also used to pinpoint prime sites and excellent, long-standing relationships with grape grower suppliers ensure that new vineyards are established on these sites, and existing vineyards are expertly managed according to the wine objective and climatic conditions. All this hard work culminates in the harvest season this time of year, says Stephan, when the viticulturist has to ensure that the grapes are picked at precisely the right time to yield perfectly balanced fruit and ultimately wines.