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Eikendal Vineyards

Excellent Wine, Excellent Setting.
Eikendal Wines, with its distinctive barrel-vaulted cellar and towering fountain, is a landmark on the R44 road between Somerset West and Stellenbosch.

Situated in the “Golden Triangle” of wine growing, Eikendal vineyards flourish in a mountain and maritime microclimate, ideal for the production of quality wine. Since 1981, the 76 hectare wine farm has been under the ownership of the Saager family from Zurich, Switzerland. The Swiss owners recognised the great potential of the area and wasted no time in modernising the existing vineyards and establishing the cellar.

The Helderberg ward, on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain, produces some of the Cape’s finest wines. The cooling effect of the moisture laden sea breezes from nearby False Bay, combined with the excellent soil structure of Eikendal’s vineyards form ideal conditions for growing noble, classic grape varieties. The moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean results in cool afternoons and evenings that are ideal for producing quality grapes.

Unbelievable Terroir

From day one it was clear to us that Eikendal’s magic lies in its terroir.

All you have that is completely your own is your piece of land – you need to unlock the key to your land and if you are able to achieve that, it takes you to the next level. Purposeful viticulture and winemaking gave focus to where we want to position our range of wines as a brand, and…

it became very clear to us that we are able to create something special at Eikendal – what excites us is that we are still not at the peak and that the sky is the limit…great things lie ahead for Eikendal.

Viticulture

Eikendal blends modern viticulture with Old World winemaking.

The focus in the vineyard is to create maximum fruit and structure in the grape berry with as much concentration as possible – in the cellar it’s all about preserving those flavour we worked so hard for and ensuring we maintain freshness, elegance and finesse. With that focus we have that modern yet old world touch which appeals to palates worldwide. It also shows in our achievements in the sense that it is worldwide and not just focused in one place.

Minimal Intervention

We work as hard as possible in the vineyard to work less in the cellar to really preserve the fruit in the wine.

“The magic has always been in the terroir,” Cellarmaster Nico Grobler says.

“Viticulture and winemaking give the wines their focus.” At Eikendal we take this approach in the vineyard, using chemicals only when absolutely necessary. We are fortunate to have a passionate vineyard ‘family’ that have been on the estate for generations, and are all exceptionally skilled staff

Maryke Botha / Winemaker

Focus begins in the vineyard and is applied through precision viticulture. Every block of vineyard is cultivated in its own unique way to ensure the highest quality grapes are produced. Different trellising and training systems are sometimes implemented on a single variety to ensure the style of wine we want to produce can be obtained with minimum intervention in the cellar. We want to be able to taste the wine in the grapes and carry that so the terroir shines through in the glass.

Our Wines

Passionate about wine, passionate about life.

Our wines are a true reflection of our favorable Terroir, intensely expressed with a firm structure just like the Helderberg Mountain, whilst tempered with elegance and finesse, as only the cooling ocean breezes can provide.

History of the Saager family

What were the reasons for the Swiss Saager Family to come all the way across Africa to start a wine farm in the Cape?

Well it is a very long story which began in 1909 in the Dutch colony of East India on the Island of Sumatra, with the establishment of a colonial company possessing rubber, oil and coffee plantations by some adventurous Swiss entrepreneurs.

During the Second World War Sumatra was occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army and the flourishing plantations got almost completely destroyed. The reconstruction of the plantations was again interrupted after the war, by hostilities during the Indonesian struggle for independence.

Following the assumption of power by the Sukarno government the plantations had to be sold in 1957 for economical and political reasons. It caused the company to search for other regions of activity, which were found on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in the then British protectorate of Tanganyika.

Three coffee farms and two large wheat farms were acquired with the aim to pursue the traditional agribusiness but also to bring private development aid to Africa – a continent which has been a special interest of my father for some time.

Eikendal Vineyards, Picture taken in 2020

Eikendal Vineyards, Picture taken in 1982

1958 was also the time when he, together with friends under the umbrella of Substantia AG, became the majority owners of the company. Unfortunately bad luck struck again in 1973, when the coffee farms were nationalized by the Tanzanian government and the wheat farm for various reasons became less and less economical. We had to pack-up again in search of greener pastures.

My father’s longstanding friendship with Dr. Anton Rupert brought us eventually to the Cape and also stirred our interest in winemaking. After carefully investigating the vine growing potential of the area with expert guidance by renowned local wine expert, Jan Boland, we bought two farms, straddling the Eikendal Road, named Longridge and Mietjiesvlei.

The farm belonged to a scrap metal dealer who grew Chenin blanc and Cinsault grapes that were sold to the near-by Helderberg Coop.

In 1981, immediately after their purchase, the two farms were consolidated to form Eikendal Vineyards. A vigorous replanting program was initiated and a modern cellar constructed with the potential to treat up to 1000 tons of grapes.

Since then replanting of vines is a continuous process at Eikendal. Over the years we planted many new and better clones and introduced new varieties such as Shiraz, Malbec and Semillon. This changed the original set-up of approximately 45% reds and 55% whites to the present ratio of roughly 65 % reds to 35 % whites.

The political changes in the nineties also brought dramatic changes to the wine industry. Export markets suddenly opened, where in the past it was almost impossible to sell wine. In South Africa the industry became less regulated and a large number of new wineries appeared on the wine scene. When Eikendal joined the Stellenbosch Wine route – South Africa’s first and foremost wine route, in 1983 we were only 18 members as opposed to the 150 winery members the route currently encompasses.

These developments not only gave us an opportunity to venture into new markets but also signaled a bright future for Eikendal.

© 2021 Eikendal Vineyards by RDX