Background

The Pritchard family. Seymour Pritchard bought the 10-hectare farm Malvern Heights in 1969 from Colonel JW Billingham, who had named the farm after the rolling hills around Malvern in his native England. When winemaking came into Seymour's sights in the mid-1980's France was still at the centre of the wine universe so he "Frenchised" the name to Clos Malverne.

By 1985 Clos Malverne had already been supplying its wine grapes to Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery for a number of years, when Jeremy Walker, now of Grangehurst farm, suggested to Seymour at a braai that Christmas Eve that they make wine from Clos Malverne's grapes. So, 800 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon were made in 1986 and this and the 1987 vintage were so encouraging that Seymour decided to go into winemaking full time. The Cabernet Sauvignon '88 was the first release to the public and a year later Jeremy Walker joined Seymour as full-time winemaker.

During the 90's Clos Malverne grew from strength to strength and also increased vineyard plantations which consists of Pinotage, Merlot and Shiraz and a whole range of red wines were in the market place with many being blends. 1995 Clos Malverne was one of the very first wineries to produce a classic Cape Blend. The wine was such a success that the flagship wine, called Clos Malverne Auret, was changed from a Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot Bordaux style blend to a Cape Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon / Pinotage). The Auret 1998 vintage was the first Cape Blend ever to receive 5 star status in the prestigious Platter Wine Guide. 
Another high point was that Clos Malverne produced the 2001 National Wine Show Champion Cabernet / Merlot blend, which was given the award as South African Champion red wine and later went on to win the grand award as the most outstanding wine, red or white wine, of that year. This was certainly the highest point of our winemaker I.P. Smit's career.

Clos Malverne is now very much a family affair. Besides overseeing the entire operation Seymour and his wife Sophia, who also attends to the accounting, have spent enormous time and effort successfully developing international markets for Clos Malverne. At present about 70% of their wines are exported, to the UK, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, USA, Japan and a few others. Seymour's daughter Belinda Pritchard makes sure that Clos Malverne visitors are well looked after and pampered at the day spa also situated on the estate. Seymour's brother Mervyn Pritchard is enrolled as the sous chef in the newly built international contemporary restaurant run by the executive chef Nadia Louw. Even Seymour's mother is involved, if in name only. Auret, their flagship wine, is her maiden name and Seymour's middle name.

It is no coincidence that the bulk of Clos Malverne's successes have been achieved during IP's tenure as winemaker, which started with the 1998 vintage. Seymour attributes this to his dedication to quality and the holistic approach he adopts in starting the winemaking process in the vineyards, through his position as viticulturist. He has been our winemaker for 10 years.

Winemaker: Suzanne Coetzee

We have been joined by a new and very versatile winemaker, and her name is Suzanne Coetzee. Is it a coincidence that she shares the surname of the previous winemaker, Charl Coetzee? Not at all, for indeed they are husband and wife!

At Clos Malverne's expense, but with compliments to Clos Malverne, Charl was head-hunted to become the Cellar Master of a brand new premium winery called Babylonstoren. The best person to have taken over from him who knows the winery, the vineyards and style of Clos Malverne was his winemaker wife. This is how Suzanne got to join the team to keep Clos Malverne flying high.

The added bonus of Suzanne is that she not only has the qualification from the University of Stellenbosch and winemaking experience at places like Boekenhoutskloof and Vriesenhof vineyards, but she also spent a number of years at Boland Cellar where she got to know the international wine scene very well and earned a reputation for hard work and good results. It is with this dual experience that Clos Malverne is excited to have a female winemaker who not only makes wine but add tremendous value on the marketing side. This is a face you will soon recognise regularly!

Viticulture and winemaking

The Devon Valley microclimate is key to the quality of grapes grown on Clos Malverne. Although the valley is shallow it acts as a natural receptacle for the morning summer mists that linger around Stellenbosch. The valley is cooler than surrounding areas, significantly lengthening the ripening season, resulting in very ripe grapes. The vineyards are mostly planted on the gently sloping terrain of the valley. Seymour recently purchased two other farms very close to Clos Malverne. Dwars in die Weg has 11 hectares under vine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc). All vines are drip irrigated using water from the farm dam. Carlsrus has 4 hectares under vine (all Pinotage) using drip irrigation with water obtained from Teewaterskloof dam. Clos Malverne?s 10 hectares of vineyards (Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz) also have drip irrigation using water from Teewaterskloof dam.

Clos Malverne uses a traditional "handmade" style of winemaking. The grapes are softly basket pressed and they still use open fermentation tanks. Also caps are punched down by hand. The cellar can handle up to 400 tons although the yield from the vineyards is presently running at 350 tons per annum. French and American oak are used to mature their red wines.
 
Additions to the cellar were completed for the 2003 harvest. They included extra barrel maturation facilities and wine storage.

Restaurant and Tasting facilities

The new tasting room boasts lovely view and splendid atmosphere with friendly and capable staff. We have ample seating (130 persons).
Clos Malverne is open to the public for tastings - cost R25 per head: 

Clos Malverne Estate
+27.21 8652022