The Rhodesian Ridgeback

"The Rhodesian Ridgeback originates from Southern Africa where legends and stories abound of their exploits and bravery in the African bushveld."

"The Rhodesian Ridgeback originates from Southern Africa where legends and stories abound of their exploits and bravery in the African bushveld. Their tenacity and ruggedness are symbolic of the pioneering spirit of Africa."

Ridgeback is situated in the Northern side of Paarl in the Western Cape, on the back slopes of the Paarl Mountain. Originally established in 1997 with the intention of farming fruit, the plantings at that stage consisted predominately of fruit. However the poor performance of fruit prices at the time and advice from friends and other farmers, convinced the owners to change to wine grape production.

Today a total of 35 hectares are under vine with the potential to plant a further 30 hectares. In order to provide the winemaker with the ability to produce an exciting array of blends and single varietal wines, the farm has a fairly diversified vineyard. The farm's location, soils and slopes are well suited to red grapes of which the mainstay is Shiraz followed by Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot and Grenache. In addition Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier complement the white grape production.

Great care has been taken to ensure the vineyards are of the highest calibre. All vines are secured on high tressles and much time is spent ensuring that the soils have the optimum mineral and moisture content. We feel that a large part of making great wine occurs in the vineyards before the grapes enter the cellar and so far the fruits of this labour have been very successful. Ridgeback was judged the top Shiraz vineyard in the Paarl Region in 2004.

There are two labels produced on the farm, Vansha, where the focus is on creating quality white and red wines produced in a more accessible style. Ridgeback is the premium label and the emphasis is on producing top class wines, both single varietal wines as well as blends.

The origin of the main brand, Ridgeback, derives from the Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs kept on the farm together with the situation that the owners, the Farm Director and the viticulturist have Zimbabwean (Rhodesian) connections. The Ridgeback, a dog indigenous to Southern Africa, was originally used for lion hunting and embodies the strength and quality of the farms red wines. Today this is breed with a long pedigree and a following that stretches the world across.

The first white wine was produced in 2000 and our award winning Ridgeback Shiraz 2001 was the first red. Ridgeback wines continued from their impressive beginning and have been awarded numerous accolades and medals, both locally and abroad, over the past 6 years. Winemaker, Cathy Marshall, seems to go from strength to strength and does not settle for anything less than the best being released from the cellar.

In 2003 a modern winery was constructed with the capacity of 200 tons. At present the total production is 16 000 cases, with large scope for growth. The winery was complemented by the construction of a wine tasting facility, which is perched over a large duck pond. Guests can view numerous breeds of duck languidly cruising the surface or fighting for a stray piece of cracker, if they are offered.

Ridgeback Wines