Blaauwklippen – South Africa`s Zinfandel Powerhouse

Last month wine media and trade representatives flocked to Blaauklippen Wine Estate in Stellenbosch to celebrate the tenth Zinfandel vintage of the estate’s Cellar Master, Rolf Zeitvogel. Apart from its 300-year history, Blaauwklippen is also one of the very few South African wine producers to recognise the potential of Zinfandel in the country.

rolf Blaauwklippen   South Africa`s Zinfandel Powerhouse

Cellar Master, Rolf Zeitvogel

Zinfandel grows well wherever the climate is warm enough to ripen the grape, yet the variety thrives in some regions more than others. Climate aside, it’s still one of the most difficult wine grapes to work with. Zinfandel’s biggest problem is uneven ripening. Patience, and a lot of additional cellar and vineyard work, are required to turn it into a drinkable and enjoyable wine.

Blaauwklippen first planted Zinfandel in 1978. In 1981, the winemaker at the time, Walter Finlayson, won the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award for the 1980 Blaauwklippen Zinfandel. Rolf continued the legacy, created by Walter, and his subsequent vintages have shown great potential. With structure, balanced acidity and well-integrated tannins, all 10 vintages we tasted on the day offered a nice interplay of red and black fruit components.

Blaauwklippen was the first South African winery to release a White Zinfandel in 2007. The decision to release the white version – which is made from red grapes – was driven by the wine-drinking public’s demand for a new wine style, and the proven quality of Blaauwklippen’s Zinfandel fruit. Since then the estate’s Zinfandel portfolio has grown to eight Zinfandel inspired products, as shown below.


Zinfandel is a unique selling point for this historic South African wine estate, and history has proven that wine lovers appreciate the passion Blaauwklippen puts into Zinfandel.

“South African wine consumers are adventurous and always keen to try something new. I think our Zinfandel portfolio has been met with great excitement and our aim is to create even more awareness and interest around this varietal” – Rolf Zeitvogel, Blaauwklippen’s cellar master and managing director.