Tokara Winery - South Africa
When describing their wine, TOKARA's winemakers use words such as intensity, complexity and balance. They also emphasize the point that the wine shows a strong sense of place, reflecting the elegance and commitment to the excellence of its estate.
TOKARA's wines are distinctive and sophisticated. They will age well and should gain in character when set down for a few years. Contributing to this quality is the estate's dedication to cutting edge technologies.
“Perched in the Helshoogt Pass in Stellenbosch, Tokara is blessed with a stunning vista. All of Tokara’s wines are sourced from their own vineyards in Stellenbosch, Walker Bay and Elgin. Winemaker Miles Mossop took me through their portfolio of wines that includes some of the finest Cabernet-based blends that I have tasted and a stunning Sauvignon Blanc. I was shocked that Tokara is not currently imported in the USA!” - WINE ADVOCATE
TOKARA winery is situated on the crest of the Helshoogte Pass, about 5km from the historic winemaking town of Stellenbosch. Apart from award winning architecture, the estate offers magnificent vistas of the Simonsberg Mountains, False Bay, Table Mountain and the lush Idas Valley. The winery building’s industrial nature is softened by uncomplicated architecture and design. A composition of simple, natural materials and clean, strong lines characterize the structure, offering clarity of form within a breathtaking environment. The wine production and marketing facility was designed to reflect the character of the wines themselves – innovative and distinctive. Spaces interact efficiently, with practicality being a core element.
TOKARA is a picture perfect destination which offers visitors a unique combination of award-winning wines, brandy and olive oils, a gallery of fine art, a restaurant featuring one of South Africa’s leading chefs. TOKARA prides itself on making wines that are site specific. Even though vineyards were initially planted on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain at the Stellenbosch property, two other farms, Highlands in the Elgin district and Siberia in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus, were additionally acquired. In doing so TOKARA is able to produce wines which express the distinct characteristics of these three prime wine producing regions.
All viticulture procedures at TOKARA strive to create a balance between the vegetative and reproductive qualities of the vine, which is beneficial to both the environment and the quality of the estate’s final product. The winery’s operational layout incorporates cutting-edge technologies and computerised control systems to ensure all TOKARA wines meet the necessary standards of excellence.
The TOKARA Premium wines are made from top quality grapes exclusively from our own vineyards. As a result a specific sense of place finds expression in the complexity and richness of the TOKARA wines. Balance, texture, elegance and the ability to age are distinctive traits of the TOKARA Premium range of wines.
GT Ferreira - Owner
The TOKARA farm was purchased in 1994 by GT Ferreira for residential purposes, but it wasn’t long before the great potential for planting vineyards was recognized and explored. Classic varietals were planted on the 400m above sea-level slopes. The cool air and low temperatures contribute to the excellent quality of TOKARA Wines.
Mr. Ferreira has made various social investments that has assisted in the upliftment of their workforce. The “Tokara Workers Trust” has made a huge difference in all employees lives with some very creative projects that address issues like transport, education and housing. “The trust has been set up for the entire workforce to look after their future individual needs. Mr. Ferreira doesn’t discriminate between levels or colors, which makes for a motivated and positive team. Tokara,” he concludes, “is a very happy company” - Aidan Morton
Miles Mossop - Winemaker - Twitter: @milesmossop
Mossop is an alumnus of Wynberg Boys’ High and a double BSc graduate from Stellenbosch University. He obtained his degree in viticulture and oenology in 1998, graduating top of the class, having completed a geology and geochemistry degree in 1995. A student practical spell at Spice Route was followed by a stint with Gyles Webb at Thelema. In 1999 he spent a vintage at the prestigious Knappstein winery in Clare, South Australia, then did a tasting stint in France. He worked the 2000 and 2001 vintages as a cellar hand with Alain Parret in Condrieu, France and Planeta in Sicily respectively.
In 2000 he joined TOKARA where he has completed 12 harvests thus far. Miles has recently been granted membership of the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild. Mossop is passionate about surfing, fishing and wine in all its guises.
Closilo Winery - South Africa
CLOSILO is the name we gave the picturesque Silo that was built in 1948 on our farm, Mont Blois, in the De Hoop Valley of Robertson. Robertson is known as the Valley of Wine and Roses.
CLOSILO refers to the French term “Clos” meaning enclosed vineyard, but here rather the Silo is enclosed by a red clay wall, hand-built from the fertile De Hoop Valley soils.
The History of Mont Blois and the Bruwer Family begins in 1869 when the first farm was bought. Six generations later, we now own 3 separate farms in Robertson namely Mont Blois, La Fontaine and Sunshine. We have 260ha of vineyards which include the following varieties: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Colombar, Muscat de Frontignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Some suppliers buy grapes directly from us but the majority of the grapes are then taken to our cellar on Mont Blois which was built in 1884. Since then we have expanded the cellar and upgraded facilities to ensure excellent quality wines are made. Family is at the heart and essence of our winery and we believe in building long term relationships with all we do business with. We have been a loyal supplier to Distell for 70 years.
Meet the team
Owner Ernst Bruwer is the 6th generation Bruwer on the farm. He took over from his Grandfather Ernst Bruwer Snr. Ernst studied Viticulture and Enology at Stellenbosch University and he is intensely involved in all aspects of the farm from vineyard planning, pruning to harvesting and day to day activities. He is enthusiastic and always eager to improve. At Mont Blois we believe in sustainable farming and that older vineyards should be cared for.
Our winemaking team consists of Cellarmaster John Raymond Kirby, who has been working at Mont Blois since 1984, and Nina-Mari Bruwer. Nina-Mari and Ernst met whilst studying Viticulture & Enology together at Stellenbosch University. Nina-Mari joined the Mont Blois team in 2008. In 2014 Nina-Mari was awarded with the prestigious title of Cape Wine Master. The husband and wife team are involved with all aspects of the farm and winery and manage it hands-on. Exciting things are still on the horizon so #whatchthisspace.
Climate and Soils
Robertson, known as the Valley of Wine and Roses, is a small town in the Breederiver area about 160km from Cape Town. Our 3 farms have quite diverse soils and daily temperatures.
Firstly Mont Blois is situated in the Hoopsrivier Ward. We are the only winery in the Hoopsrivier area. The Hoopsrivier is an intermittent river that only flows after heavy South-Easterly rains late autumn and spring. Day and night temperatures in the De Hoop Valley are 3 degrees cooler than the town centre which is about 6 kilometres away. This is due to the proximity of the Langeberg Mountains and the overshadowing it creates. On the river banks there are mainly deep alluvial siols with a large fraction of river pebbles. On the footslopes, where the majority of vineyards are planted the soils heavy-textured reddish-brown soils.
Secondly La Fontaine is also in the Hoopsrivier ward but about 3km closer to the town centre. Vineyards are located on the plaines rather than footslopes. This area is slightly warmer and is where our Pinotage and Cabernet Vineyards are located. The reds ripen perfectly in the deep red Karoo soils with a high percentage of clay in the sublayers.
Thirdly our Sunshine farm is typical Robertson soils and lies on the banks of the Breede River, about 25km away from Mont Blois. Deep red Karoo soils with abundant limestone patches dominates on this farm. It’s the limestone that makes these soils so special. They ensure that natural acidity is retained in the grapes. This is a very low-rainfall area and irrigation is essential. Excellent quality water is obtained from the Brandvlei Dam as well as the Breede River. The soils on the banks of the BreedeRiver are alluvial soils. The climate here is more continental with warm temperatures during the day and cold temperatures at night.
Robertson is less than 100km away from Agulhas – the southernmost point of Africa. The South-Easterly from Aghulhas ensures that vineyards are cooled down each afternoon especially during the summer months.
Six new graduates joined the ranks of the Cape Wine Masters (CWM) at a luncheon held at Groot Constantia, which also marked the 30th anniversary since the first South African CWMs qualified. Three of the six new graduates are from Gauteng, and three from the Western Cape.
Not only are the dissertations of this year’s group of new Masters relevant to the local wine industry – with topics ranging from the production of Bordeaux-style red wines in South Africa to asking the question of whether or not the Swartland is the new South African Wine Hub – but four of the six new graduates are currently working in the wine industry.
Food and beverage entrepreneur, Debi van Flymen, who is the manager of Wine Cellar fine wine merchants in Johannesburg, explored the production of Bordeaux-style red wines in South Africa, within the structures of the historic French category framework – and in the light of its increasing popularity among South African producers who have doubled in number during the past ten years. The category, arguably one of the more important styles of wine produced locally, has been attracting high ratings from international critics and serving as a calling card for the country on a global stage.
She concluded that Bordeaux-style red blends are an established feature of South Africa’s wine production today and will continue to inspire winemakers for generations to come. Ac-cording to Van Flymen, the evolution of the category will see more innovation and continual quality improvement at all levels.
Red winemaker at Mont Blois in Robertson, Nina-Marie Bruwer investigated “Perceptions in wine – and the role and benefits of sensory analytical tools” to measure, decode and interpret wine perceptions and other new methods to ensure financial stability in a competitive and fragmented wine industry.