Botanica Wines

This is a new estate focusing on pinot noir and old-vine chenin, aiming to use minimally invasive winemaking techniques to produce wines that express their vineyards’ origins. Founded in 2008, it is run by rising star Virginia (‘Ginny’) Povall, a New Yorker who still spends part of the year there, and a self-taught winemaker who began by making small batches at her home in America.

She has already made an impressive impact on the South African wine scene: her very first vintage, 2009, was awarded five stars in the influential Platter's Guide 2011, an achievement that she went on to repeat with the 2011 and 2012 vintages in the 2013 and 2014 editions respectively.

Ginny is based on a flower farm in Devon Valley, just 10 minutes from central Stellenbosch, however the grapes for her first two wines – a chenin blanc and a pinot noir – are currently sourced from further afield.

The chenin comes from much further north in the Western Cape and is classified as a wine of the Citrusdal Mountain region. The grapes are sourced from a Clanwilliam vineyard of around 50 years of age, planted on Table Mountain sandstone at 800 metres above sea level, roughly 25 miles from the sea. It is part vinified in stainless steel and part fermented and aged in large French oak barrels.

The pinot noir comes from two respected growers in the Elgin region, to the south-east of Stellenbosch; however Ginny has been planting her own vines at the Devon Valley farm since 2009 and has been using some of her own pinot noir since the 2013 vintage. She has five hectares of vines in total, and as well as pinot noir she plants cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The vineyards are planted on cool south-east and south-facing clay slopes, around 600 to 750 metres above sea level, with sea breezes keeping temperatures even cooler.

Ginny also has a four-star guest house on the farm called Sugarbird Manor.

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