The Hermanus Hemel & Aarde Valley has some of the country’s best wines, and its pinot noir and chardonnays are legend. The growing number of wine producers in this fertile valley at the entrance to Hermanus have formed the Hemel en Aarde Winegrowers’ Association, a blend of the Hemel-en -Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge wine wards in the Walker Bay Wine District. A new Hermanus Wine Route has been created.
The wine estates in the new Association are Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Southern Right, Ashbourne, Bouchard Finlayson, Vrede, La Vierge, Sumaridge, Newton Johnson, Lelienfontein, Pearly Gates, Southend, Tokara – Siberia Vineyards, Hemel-en-Aarde Country Retreat, Deja Vu, Hemelzicht, Klein Hemel, Spookfontein, Ataraxia, Babylon Farm Vineyards, Creation, Mount Babylon, Jakob’s Vineyards, and Domaine des Dieux.
The area is characterised by small production runs and produces cool-climate wines of exceptional quality. Wines from the region are characterised by their above average natural acidity and below average pH, a below than average alcohol level, and more ‘tightness and minerality’. It is strongly influenced by its close proximity to the ocean – interestingly defined as the Atlantic (rather than the Indian Ocean) in the media release of the newly formed association.
Johan Holtzhausen of Mount Babylon is the first Chairman of the new Hemel-en-Aarde Winegrowers’ Association.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com