The Vineyards and Winemaking

At Ingwe Alain found the outstanding natural environment to make a unique South African red blend...

The Ingwe vineyards

At Ingwe Alain found the outstanding natural environment to make a unique South African red blend. True to his Bordeaux roots, Alain and his team’s primary focus has been on establishing the Ingwe vineyards and maximizing they’re potential for producing the highest quality fruit.

Viticulturist Francois Baard, also a junior partner in Ingwe, joined Alain in 1999 and has been the driving force in developing the Ingwe vineyards. Francois trained at Nietvoorbij near Stellenbosch and was previously farm manager/viticulturist at Groot Constantia, Buitenverwachting and Zevenwacht wineries. Francois also looks after the local marketing of Ingwe wines.

The four key factors in enhancing the quality of the grapes on Ingwe farm are:

• Soil type and soil water status in relation to vine stress.
• Climate without any excesses.
• Optimum vine density and appropriate canopy management.
• Naturally low-yielding vineyards.

The Ingwe soils are a mixture of clay and gravel. The gravel provides efficient drainage allowing the water to penetrate the soil’s deep clay reservoir. The roots are lured down to this level thus minimizing the impact of weather and temperature variations on the vine. Research into the great terroir of Bordeaux has shown that moderate water stress two-to-three weeks before grapes start developing their color has the most beneficial impact on the wine’s body and complexity. By regulating irrigation this effect has been simulated in the Ingwe vineyards. By using a pressure chamber to determine the stem water potential they are able to measure the stress on the vine. If irrigation is required large amounts of water are used in order to wet all the soil horizons. The upper horizons dry quickly, stressing the roots into penetrating the deeper moist clay levels.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the high summer winds of False Bay, besides their obvious beneficial cooling qualities, are considered advantageous because they reduce the yield, so concentrating fruit flavors, and create a microclimate that is less conducive to diseases, minimizing the need for spraying. With optimum yield in mind, vine density and viticulture practices are varied from variety to variety.

There are 24 hectares under vine on the Ingwe farm with a further 5 hectares of vineyards on a leased property across the road. In future Semillon and more Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot will be planted at Ingwe.

Young Winemaker, PJ Geyer is an adventurer too, and passionate: (Moueix hired him because “he talked about making wine with sensitivity, not from a recipe”. He gained his winemaking skills in both new world (the USA and New Zealand) and old world (Pomerol, France) cellars. He joined Ingwe in 2002 and is dedicated to capturing the fine flavours of the grapes in the wine and blending each wine to perfection.

Ingwe Wine Estate