EMBRACING AN ANCIENT WINEMAKING TRADITION
In 2002, the 180-year-old cellar was sympathetically restored to enable it to press approximately 70 tons of red wine a year. To create each vintage, the grapes are handpicked from selected rows in specific vineyards. Our unique gravitational cellar embraces a traditional winemaking concept, which places less stress on the grapes, juices and skins. The bunches are hoisted onto the flat roof of the cellar and, after being hand sorted once more, the grapes are gently destalked. These lightly bruised whole grapes slide into the specially lined concrete tanks where fermentation takes place to impart maximum colour, integrated tannin and intense flavour from the skin contact. The must is regularly plunged down through the cap of skins to achieve yet greater flavour, complexity and strength while it ferments dry for 10 to 14 days. This ancient and sympathetic winemaking technique ensures that the juices are never agitated or stressed by pumping over for extraction. The juices flow through gravitation into concrete holding tanks below the fermenters and the skins are given a gentle pressing. The wine is then stored in a special selection of French and American 300-litre oak barrels where the secondary or malolactic fermentation will take place. Here, the wine will mature in the wood for about 12 to 22 months after which it will be bottled under the family surname, Marklew Family Wines.
NEIL STRYDOM - MARKLEW WINEMAKER
I started out in the wine industry in 1999 working for one the most famous sparkling wine houses. A year later, I decided to study formally and started a three-year winemaking course at Elsenburg Agricultural College. My career started in a massive cellar, harvesting about 34000 tonnes a year, where I worked hard and learned as much as possible during that time. My passion was always a more personal winemaking experience, so I moved to a small cellar in Stellenbosch where I spent many years handcrafting wines. My passion is creating Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon as I believe they are the most difficult to perfect. After working in the wine districts of Robertson, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, I got to discover first-hand the diversity of South Africa’s different terroirs.
Now that I’m back in Stellenbosch where I started out, I have, in a sense, completed the circle. The quality terroir and fantastic family make my job as winemaker for the Marklews all the more enjoyable. I’m proud to produce the handcrafted, high quality wines that are the hallmark of Marklew Family Wines.