Background


The land of Kanonkop originally formed part of the farm Uitkyk, but in 1930 the larger portion of Uitkyk was sold while the lower section was renamed Kanonkop. (In the days of the Dutch East India Company, sightings of the approach of the companys fleet were signalled by a cannon on a nearby hill - hence the name Kanonkop).

The estate is currently run by Jannie Krige, assisted by his two sons: Johann and Paul. Since 1980 the innovative and highly regarded winemaker Beyers Truter has been responsible for the making of the wines in this prestigious cellar. Beyers has concentrated on two varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. These two varieties are eminently suited to the soil and climate of Kanonkop, which was one of the first of the local estates to plant Pinotage. Of the three main soil types found on the estate, the most important is the pebbly, granit based soil found on the high sloping western side of the farm. It is in this area that the farms Pinotage and Cabernet plantings are concentrated. Because of the excellent and hotter climatic conditions on the lower and more sandy soils, a five-year programme of soil preparation was started in the early 1980s. New virus-free clones of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage were planted and are already in production.

Beyers Truter has now firmly put his individual stamp on the excellent wines produced on Kanonkop. In his first 10 years on the estate he has achieved great success - one of the highlights being the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year award in 1987 for Kanonkop Pinotage; another his being chosen as Winemaker of the Year at the 1991 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, winning the Robert Mondavi Trophy in the process.

One of the more important aims on Kanonkop is to restore Pinotage to the position it deserves in the South African market. To this end Beyers makes sure that the grapes are picked at optimum ripeness - essentail for the Pinotage fruit - and that the correct wood contact is given to the wine. After many years of experimentation with Pinotage in new Nevers oak (225 litre barrels), the 1989 vintage was the first to be released with a higher oak level to match the rich fruit of the Kanonkop Pinotages.

Beyers has also done a lot of experimentation on wood contact to suit the Kanonkop reds - to such an extent that the estate now boasts a small-barrel maturation cellar in excess of 500 barrels from the Seguim Moreau Cooperage in France, besides barriques from various other coopers.

The estate has of late cut back on its range of wines and will in future only market the Paul Sauer, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. All plantings since the last decade were aimed at this mix, yielding gratifying results. In recent years Kanonkop has won an impressive array of awards and medals at wine shows both locally and internationally, strengthening the already sound reputation of this fine estate. Kanonkop was also one of only three South African estates which participated in the prestigious 1995 New York Wine Experience to be held on October the 27th and 28th.

Kanonkop Wine Estate
+27.21 8844656