About Us

A legacy dating back to 1905

A legacy dating back to 1905
(1905 - 1973)

Overgaauw Wine Estate was founded in 1905 by Abraham van Velden, on property he purchased from his 'Joubert' grandfather whose ancestors had farmed there since the 18th century. In 1945, his son, David, took over the management of the farm. David planted five different port varietals and similar to the tradition in Portugal harvested and crushed the grapes together, a first in South Africa. In 1969, accompanied by Frans Malan of Simonsig he visited châteaux Lafite and Mouton Rothschild. The exposure to French classical winemaking techniques inspired them to pioneer the ageing of red wine in small oak barrels at the Cape. The first barriques acquired from Château Latour arrived soon after their return.

In 1973, the year in which Overgaauw became one f the first registered estates David handed the running of the estate over to his only son, Braam, the present owner. At the time, 90% of the farm was planted to white varietals. By the late 1970's, Braam was mapping the soils on the farm to better match varietals to terroir which led to a continuous upgrading of the vineyards resulting in close on 60% of the vineyards now being planted to red varietals.

Innovative Wine Making of the 3rd Generation
(1973 – 2007)
An innovator from the start, Braam was an early champion of the Claret-style blend. He launched a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cinsaut blend, named Tria Corda, in 1979. In 1982 he adopted a more classic approach by replacing the Cinsaut with Cabernet Franc, creating a 'true' Bordeaux assemblage. The three components of the blend have remained unchanged, albeit in different percentages depending on the vintage.

Braam was the first South African winemaker to bottle a varietal Merlot in 1982. In the mid 80's he was among the first local producers to plant Chardonnay and he also continued to produce and bottle Sylvaner, introduced by his father in 1971. Overgaauw still remains the only cellar in South Africa to bottle Sylvaner.

Winemaker Chris Joubert joined the team in 1991, allowing Braam to devote more of his time to his first love, the vineyards. Chris contributed hugely to the success of Overgaauw's wines in his role as winemaker for 16 years. Braam's son David took over as winemaker in April 2007, after having been Chris's assistant since 2002.

Enter the fourth generation (2007 - )
David junior took over the role as winemaker from Chris Joubert on 1 April 2007, and is the fourth-generation Van Velden to make wine at Overgaauw. Before joining Overgaauw in 2004 as assistant winemaker, David worked at Clos de Jacobins in St Emilion for a harvest in 2003, where he was mentored by Hubert du Boüard de Laforest, co-owner of Château Angelus.

The Vineyards
Overgaauw is located on the south facing slopes of the Stellenbosch Kloof, looking onto the Atlantic Ocean in False Bay 15 km away (as the crow flies), with altitudes ranging from 100 to 220m above sea level. Cool afternoon maritime breezes in the summer months lower the average temperature ensuring better and more intense development of fruit flavours. Due to its situation in the lee of the Helderberg mountains the estate is protected from the prevailing summer South Easterly winds. The wind free days enable the stomata of the leaves to continue their work undisturbed resulting in the development of intense fruit flavours found in the Overgaauw grapes. Soil mapping was initiated in the 1970's, pinpointing the perfect sites for each variety. Upgrading of the vineyards is a continuous practice, with 60% of the vineyards currently planted to red varietals.

The vines are all trellised and mostly established on the deep, well drained Hutton and Clovelly soils on the hillside to the loamy, sandy soils of the lower sites. The vines on the top slopes are un-irrigated while the rest receive supplementary irrigation depending on the vines requirements. The unique terroir of Overgaauw produces grapes with high natural acids that give the backbone, balance and longevity to our wines. Another unique aspect is the underlying minerality that can be picked up in almost all our wines. David and his vineyard team are meticulous in all aspects of their viticultural practices focusing at all times in assisting the vines to produce the best fruit possible for our wines.

In the cellar
The original cellar was built in 1909 and still forms an integral part of the current cellar facilities. Through the decades new additions have been made to ensure that the wines made in the cellar continue to optimize the richness of fruit the vineyard has to offer. The unique Overgaauw terroir offers the gift of natural high acids. By harvesting the white grapes at full ripeness in the cool morning hours the full varietal characteristics come to the fore, promising wines of excellent balance. For further flavour extraction Sauvignon Blanc grapes undergo a 6 hour pre-soak on the skins before pressing.

All the red varietals undergo a pre-soak on the skins for anything from 10 to 24 hours prior to fermentation, this ensures maximum colour extraction and imparts extra flavour. The extended maceration on the skins for the red wines after fermentation results in more weight and a softer fuller mouth-feel due to the polymerizations of the harsher tannins, producing wines of depth and elegance. Through the philosophy of minimal intervention David and his cellar assistants M'daan and Ezra ensure that the richness of fruit arriving at the cellar is carried through into the bottle.

Wood maturation philosophy

While Overgaauw was one of the pioneers at the Cape in the early 70's in using small new wood for the maturation of red wines, David has found that by combining the use of small wood with the more traditional large 4000 litre and 4500 litre oak vats he obtains better integration in his wines. On completion of its allotted time in the small barrels, the red wine spends no more than 4 to 6 months in the large wood. "The small wood imparts the vanillins and some tannin, while the big wood rounds out and softens the wine's texture and allows the blend to marry prior to bottling"

"Shepherd's Cottage, wines with heart."
In April 2007 when fourth generation winemaker David stepped into the winemaking shoes he wanted to introduce a range of wines that would be more accessible and friendly than the classic Overgaauw range, but still carried the quality that the estate is known for.

David made three wines, a white, rosé and red, but still needed a name, a name that would tell a story and reflect the soul of Overgaauw and its people. The family got together and the unanimous decision was "Shepherd's Cottage". The reason ...

The Shepherd's Cottage at Overgaauw was originally built in the late 1700's to house the local Shepherd. It is a small quaint humble home, with thick old white washed walls and small windows which are protected by green shutters, each with a heart carved out in its centre.

The last two generations of the van Velden's newly wed children have had the privilege of calling this cottage their home for the first few years of their married life. David and Nicole who were married on 8 December 2007 are the current newly weds living at the cottage.

The three wines in their fresh 'accessible' packaging celebrate the warmth, commitment and love shared in the old 18th century Shepherd's Cottage.

Meticulous viticultural practices and the dedicated Van Velden winemaking legacy that David has passionately embraced, ensures that these fruity, accessible and drinkable wines still carry the classic Overgaauw signature.

Overgaauw Estate
+27 21 881-3815