FORRESTER VINEYARDS, SOUTH AFRICA
Last year Ken Forrester wrote an article on the winemakers of Stellenbosch. I was sent the following note by his charming PA Allette and I think it is worth sharing with you. Do try and find his wines as they are outstanding.
The historic farm Scholtzenhof is one of the oldest wine farms in the Western Cape and was originally granted as Zandberg in 1689. It is now home to Ken Forrester Wines which is situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, in the heart of South Africa’s most famous wine region Stellenbosch.
In 1994 the first wines were produced under the Ken Forrester label, and soon the award-winning wines were at the forefront of the Chenin Blanc revival. The grapes are sourced from vineyards – some of them more than 30 years old – in the cool Helderberg region of Stellenbosch.
Over the years our range of top quality wines has received massive national and international acclaim with literally hundreds of awards and accolades over the last 21 years and is broadly available in well-reputed restaurants and exported to various countries around the globe.
Ken Forrester’s philosophy has always been to create a range of handcrafted, individually made wines that suitably compliment a wide variety of food styles. Thus the reason behind producing three Ken Forrester ranges including;
The Petit range is mainly from contracted vineyards that we manage from pruning to harvest, specifically sourced to suit a fruit forward profile, to offer soft, market ready, instantly pleasing easy everyday drinking.
The Ken Forrester Range
Here we are solely responsible for the cultivation of the vines and selection of the fruit, mostly from our family property in Stellenbosch, just 4 miles from the cool Atlantic and in the sheltered lee of the majestic Helderberg Mountain.
The Icon Range
Stand alone parcels from single vineyards where we nurture and coax the vines and at harvest we may pass through up to 6 times hand picking and selecting the bunches individually. Destined to be limited by provenance and finally after barrel aging, we only select the very best individual barrels to go into bottle, ensuring a unique superlative wine, justifiably the pinnacle of our efforts.
Ken Forrester – Mr Chenin
Ken Forrester started a career in the Hotel industry with Southern Sun, in the early days of Sol Kerzner, way back in 1977, after a 3-year course in Hotel Management at the Johannesburg Hotel School. He then went on to specialise in the restaurant trade, buying a share in one of the busiest eateries of the day, Gatriles in the centre of Johannesburg, and from there a string of other restaurants and related activities culminating in being elected Chairman of the Federated Hospitality Association of SA (FEDHASA).
Then in 1993 with a young family, he and his wife Teresa set their hearts on an historic vineyard in Stellenbosch. Originally granted in 1689 as Zandberg, this beautiful farm, complete with historic Cape Dutch homestead built in 1694 had stood vacant and derelict when they bought it on a public auction in 1993. A massive renovation was undertaken, both in the vineyards (Ken) and the house (Teresa!).
With most of the vineyard planted to Chenin Blanc it was decided to enlist the help of good friend and Top Winemaker, Martin Meinert, with the quest to produce Chenin Blanc that could rival any white wine in the world. That was 11 years ago, since then the wines have been poured at numerous grand events including the opening of The Scottish Parliament (Ken has been known to wear a tartan kilt – the Forresters have their origins in the Western Isles of Scotland!) as well as the 85th birthday of our own icon, ex President Mandela.
The wines have received massive international acclaim with literally hundreds of awards and accolades and the growth of the brand has been nothing short of meteoric, in a 10 short years.
The picture perfect vineyards beneath the Helderberg Mountains are testimony to the quest for perfectly ripe fruit and show the commitment and attention to detail that is required for benchmark wines in this day and age of immense competition and much improved quality. The farming is in the hands of a small highly dedicated team. Ken does all the sales and marketing, travelling around the world promoting South Africa and their great wines, happy to pour any South African wine far from home and carry the flag. It’s a tough job, socialising and meeting great people in the relaxed environment of food and wine but someone has to do it!
Please visit www.kenforresterwines.com