Many years ago, Johan Abraham van Zyl was one of 5 sons from a family in the
Citrusdal valley. When the time came for the sons to branch out on their own, they drew lots to determine which brother would have the unnerving task of farming on the untamed and rugged Piekenierskloof Mountain. The lot fell on an unmarried brother who was rescued from this fate by Johan Abraham’s wife, Wilhelmina. Wilhelmina insisted that she and Johan Abraham should rather attend to this daunting task, as the unmarried brother would surely struggle to develop a farm without the support of a wife! As such, Johan Abraham and Wilhelmina settled on the undeveloped, rugged mountain ridge of the Piekenierskloof in 1923.
In 1959 Johan Abraham’s son, Carel van Zyl, settled on the farm Bergendal where he planted the first vineyards in 1962.
Today, Carel’s sons and Johan Abraham’s grandsons, Oubaas and Potgieter van Zyl, are the proud and passionate custodians of several hectares of remarkable vineyards planted on the farms Bergendal and Heidedal, where they devotedly follow in the footsteps of one of the pioneering farmers of the Piekenierskloof.
In 2017 the winery’s name changed to Piekenierskloof Wines and with unwavering conviction, the van Zyl family is on a mission to develop the immense potential of the Piekenierskloof area and its vines.
Upon entering the ‘gates’ of the Piekenierskloof by exiting the N7 and turning onto
the Paleisheuwel Road (quite literally translated into ‘Palace on the Hill’ Road), admiration for the region’s terroir instantly sets in.
Vineyards grow on West- and East-facing slopes on both sides of a valley that winds its way in a North-South direction and are planted in Tafelberg sandstone soils at an altitude of 650m to 700m. The altitude, which has a tremendous impact on the cool down effect during hot summer days, coupled with the sandy loam soils, not only give our wines a sense of perfume and minerality, but also allow the grapes to ripen slowly and develop complex flavours. This ultimately results in the creation of wines with predominantly fresh fruit and berry flavours.
Piekenierskloof is synonymous with the Grenache varietal. A vigorous and hardy vine
with a strong wooden frame that thrives in hot and dry conditions, Grenache reaches its pinnacle of quality when the vines reach maturity. This varietal is also surprisingly water wise and seamlessly paves the way for Piekenierskloof’s arsenal of iconic Rhône varietals.
Under the watchful eye of our Cellar Master, Alecia Boshoff, Piekenierskloof Wines is fortunate to celebrate all that is wonderful about the Rhône valley in France and constantly produces award-winning Rhône-style South African wines with exceptional taste.
As much as our wines reflect the unique terroir of their established roots along the
Piekenierskloof mountains, so our labels take inspiration from the Piekeniers that once watched over the Piekenierskloof pass.
The vibrant orange top reflects the Dutch origin of our name and the region’s citrus farming history. The labels represent our vision – new beginnings, family legacy, plentiful harvest, enjoying the fruits of our labour, peace and liberty. The result is one wine with eight different labels together, telling our story.
Each label showcases a Piekenier in traditional dress, in an almost balletic stance, displaying the winemaking process from beginning to end:-
1 – Bay Laurel symbolizing the rich Piekenierskloof heritage and building on a legacy.
2 – Pick preparing the soil for planting.
3 – Spade planting the vineyards.
4 – Watering can watering the newly planted vines.
5 – Bunch of grapes time to harvest.
6 – Wine glass tasting the fruit of our labour.
7 – Bird flying off our wines are ready to take on the world.
8 – Scroll the telling of our story.
OLD VINE RANGE
Almost a century ago the pioneering van Zyl family settled on the untamed, yet fertile farmland of the Piekenierskloof Plateau. Since then, several generations van Zyl farmers have contributed to the family’s viticulture heritage among the prominent sandstone outcrops of the plateau.
Today brothers Oubaas and Potgieter van Zyl are guardians to a wealth of old vine gems and Piekenierskloof Wines is a proud member of the Old Vine Project with 5 certified wines in our Old Vine Range:
Bergendal Chenin Blanc 1962
Samson Straw Wine Muscat de Frontignan 1962
Carel van Zyl Grenache Noir 1973
Heidedal Cinsault 1976
Johan van Zyl Pinotage 1976.
Our old vines are bush vine vineyards and are unirrigated and planted on their own roots in sandy, loam soils where they produce between 2 to 4 tonnes per hectare.
WILHELMINA MÉTHODE CAP CLASSIQUE
Wilhelmina, our ‘courageous protector’, was the driving force behind Johan Abraham van Zyl’s conquering of the wild Piekenierskloof in the early 1900s.
Apart from inspiring him to accept the challenge, she was his companion and supporter as he cultivated this captivating land.
We honour her brave spirit as matriarch of our pikeman line-up with this very rare and special Grenache Noir Méthode Cap Classique that displays layers of red fruit and enticing complexity gained during the time it spent on lees.
We work the land. We toil in the sun. We dance with the stones.
Stonedance is an expression of life and movement in the vineyards, bringing together the flavours of the region and harmonising it into a symphony of elegant wines.
The grapes for these wines are sourced from Fairtrade certified vineyards predominantly from the Swartland region. The combination of the cool Atlantic breeze and the warm, dry summers make the Swartland uniquely suited to grow high-quality grapes. In recognition of the special attributes of the Swartland terroir, we partner with strategic growers for the supply of grapes for our Stonedance range.
SIX HATS RANGE
Our Six Hats range reflects the best of the Cape West Coast terroir and our commitment to progressive and equitable wine farming.
As a farming community, the people and land of Piekenierskloof are intimately linked. Through positive business practices and as a member of Fairtrade International, our aim is to uplift the communities – our extended family – which make what we do possible.
The Six Hats stand for Partnership, Change, Potential, Equity, Dignity and Sustainability.
Hats off to our people!