GABRIËLSKLOOF, a beautiful blend of country life and slow living, is our featured Conservation Champion wine farm this month
Perched atop a hillside overlooking the town of Botriver, Gabriëlskloof is a family-owned wine estate set amidst the rolling hills of the Overberg. It is just off the N2 but feels miles away from anything when you enter its calming stone-walled surrounds.
The land was covered in wheat fields and a few wandering sheep when it was bought in 2000 by Bernhard Heyns. Together with local farmer Barry Anderson and more recently Bernhard’s daughter and son-in-law, Bernhard has turned it into the Gabriëlskloofof today with vineyards, a state-of-the-art cellar, restaurant and more. The first wine was made in 2009.
Gabriëlskloof aims to produce wine that best reflects the complexity, richness and diversity of the unique terroir – and to have fun while doing it!
To capture the spirit of the Overberg’s landscapes, the Landscape Series consists of five wines that show the best of Gabriëlskloof’s winemaking and terroir, while also sourcing grapes from equally amazing old, bush vine vineyards further afield.
The chapel on the farm was converted from hosting weddings to making wine in late 2017, and the 2018 vintage is the first to be cellared from this historic, happy location.
Flora and fauna
Situated on a koppie, the farm’s hilltop camera has captured baboon, bat-eared fox, caracal, honey badger and Cape leopard. Many birds of prey fly overhead and pairs of iconic blue cranes are often spotted in the fields on the short drive from the N2 to the farm.
Being water-wise is a key factor, with more than 90ha cleared of water-thirsty pine and Port Jackson. The estate has since replanted naturally occurring fynbos, mostly renosterveld. Efficient irrigation practices lower their energy use and a gravity-flow cellar means less pumping of wine between tanks and barrels, also saving electricity.
A small onsite sewerage plant allows reuse of some waste water while leftover grape skins are used to make compost.
From the countryside views to the Tuscan-style courtyard with its dark mirror pools reflecting the clouds, a relaxed atmosphere awaits you at Gabriëlskloof – and dogs are welcome too. The two resident pooches are Wolfgang, a German Pointer, and Lucy, a French toy poodle who is the inspiration behind the ‘Miss Lucy’ MCC. You can book for a private wine tasting or visit the popular restaurant with its locally sourced cuisine. From 14-16 December, visit Our Favourite Little Things Marketfor all sorts of gift ideas and craft delights.
As one of WWF’s 40 Conservation Champions, an exclusive and hard-earned status, Gabriëlskloof can proudly use the striking sugarbird and protea logo on its wine bottles. This logo demonstrates a long-term commitment to the environment and conservation of the Succulent Karoo and Cape Floral Kingdom.
Support environmental leaders in SA’s wine industry:
SAA is pleased to support WWF’s Conservation Champions by profiling the estates and serving their wines. SAA is committed to improving the sustainable sourcing of its onboard wine selection, with options from Conservation Champions, so you can enjoy your wine knowing that it contributes to environmental sustainability in the Western Cape.
Download the free WWF Champion Wine Guide app to stand a chance to win a night for two people in Gabriëlskloof’s invite-only farm cottage. The prize includes a brunch platter, wine tasting with Grant Baxter and a special olive oil tasting and discussion session with Barry Anderson. Valued at R1 700. T&Cs apply. wwf.org.za/wineapp
For more information on WWF’s Conservation Champions, visit: wwf.org.za/conservationandwine