HOME SWEET HOME: RADFORD DALE ACQUIRES
SOUGHT-AFTER ORGANIC ELGIN WINE FARM
SOUGHT-AFTER ORGANIC ELGIN WINE FARM
South Africa, Stellenbosch, Tuesday, 7 September 2021; RADFORD DALE was at the forefront of the South African virtual winery concept with their first vintage circa 1998. Ever since then they have sourced and grown grapes from a variety of vineyard locations to produce site-expressive wines from their Stellenbosch cellar.
The project was founded by friends Ben Radford and Alex Dale, who made the first wines together. Now Radford Dale is a team effort also comprising three international investors from the U.K., Australia and France as well as local partners Heather Whitman, Kathleen Krone, Andy Openshaw and Jacques de Klerk (the latter who is in charge of Viticulture and Winemaking).
For their ranges Terroir Selection, Thirst and Vinum, this independent, premium producer has long looked to the mountainous, viticultural sub-regions of the Helderberg area in Stellenbosch (1998), Elgin (2007) as well as the Paardeberg Mountain (2003) in the Swartland.
Now 23-years on from that first groundbreaking vintage the forward-thinking Radford Dale team – a bold move given the beleaguered state of the wine industry at large –is for the first time acquiring an estate in the form of the established organic vineyards of Elgin Ridge, in the Elgin region.
The perfect foil for the winemaking team’s approach of minimal interventionist winemaking: to reflect the environment the fruit is grown in and to retain all the qualities of elegance, purity and character that come from the best-adapted varieties in the right site, grown in the right manner.
Radford Dale Organic
Elgin Ridge, now known as Radford Dale Organic, is Elgin’s only certified organic and biodynamic wine estate. Operations continue as normal in Stellenbosch for Radford Dale and will now be known as ‘Radford Dale Stellenbosch’.
The organic vineyards in Elgin are well established, ranging from 12 to 15 years old, a peak window where vines are primed to begin producing the best grapes of the life cycle.
“In modern winemaking far too much emphasis is focused on commercialism, medals and other superficial stuff,” said Dale. We want to consistently give our wines the opportunity to express their own character by working as naturally as possible in the vineyards, employing traditional methods, and manipulating things as little as possible in the cellar.”
“2022 will be our 16th consecutive vintage making Elgin Pinot Noir.”
“When it comes to conventional wines you can replace the vineyard with another one, but when it comes to organic it becomes next to impossible,” underscored Dale. “Provenance and purity of viticultural conditions are important for unadulterated character in wine.”
A place to call home
Looking to the future Radford Dale Organic will incorporate a tasting facility for visitors to come and experience the full range of wines along with the mesmerising views of the valley. The tasting room will be open by appointment from November 2021 (including to the general public). The cellar will also operate as the sole production centre for all organically-certified Radford Dale wines.
Of the farm’s 20-hectares, approximately 6-ha are currently under vine. The plan is to take that total to 12-ha within a two to three year time-frame, commencing in 2022. The priority is to plant more Pinot Noir as well as South Africa’s first certified organic Gamay vineyard. The balance of the farm land is given over to nature and the endemic fynbos found in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
Radford Dale Organic is located on Appletizer Road, Elgin, Elgin Valley. The Radford Dale team will begin harvest 2022 with an empty cellar, making the first vintage from the get-go, their own
For comment, contact Alex Dale via email@example.com.
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