The Roberstvlei valley, in which GlenWood is situated, was first surveyed in 1811 and became a general purpose farm. Alastair Wood purchased the GlenWood property in 1986 to pursue his dream of farming and producing wine. “This property immediately attracted me because, not only was it suitable for farming grapes to make quality wine, but it also gave me a wonderful sense of being at the very heart of nature while still being close to the village”, Alastair said.
“DP” (abbreviation of Dawid Petrus) Burger was hired soon after to lead the development of the property. This took place progressively over the next twelve years until the farm was fully planted with 30 hectares of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Merlot and Shiraz. Semillon was a “romantic” choice given its traditional association with Franschhoek. The other cultivars were natural choices to suit the valley’s terroir.
The 200 ton cellar was built in 2000 with DP taking responsibility for winemaking, initially under the tutelage of another prominent winemaker. Knowing the various blocks on the farm as intimately as he does gives him an enormous advantage in terms of matching the viticultural and vinicultural aspects of producing quality wines.
We look to our “simple, natural, quality” credo to guide our thinking on all key decisions.
Simple is both a question of taste and a mind-set. In terms of taste, our preference has always been simplicity rather than complexity. Examples would be label design or architecture. In terms of mind-set, we try to simplify what can be a highly complex and unpredictable business and prefer to focus on the basics. Rather than using sophisticated models to plan production, we plan only at a high level because of the uncertainties.
Natural refers to our preference for eco-friendly viticultural practices and the use of natural winemaking materials and techniques. Natural also refers to our deep commitment to preserving parts of the farm for the regeneration of indigenous Cape fynbos. In addition to being attractive in its own right, the fynbos attracts animal and bird life which has been absent for years.
Quality is a concept which pervades all facets of the business. It must be ingrained in the minds of all our people and must be applied in every task they carry out be it on the farm, in the cellar or in the office. We will have achieved this goal when our guests, customers and distributors sense this when dealing with us.
GlenWood is situated in the Robertsvlei valley seven kilometres from Franschhoek village. The Roberts River which runs through the property is, today, a relatively small tributary of the Berg River which is one of the Cape’s major rivers. Originally, however, until a landfall rerouted it, the Berg River flowed through the GlenWood property and deposited large amounts of alluvial peat soil on its banks which today represent about ten per cent of our vineyard area. The majority of our soils are Clovelly and Sandy Lime with a depth of five to six meters.
Being surrounded by mountains, GlenWood has its own micro climate with temperatures about five degrees lower than in the main Franschhoek valley. In addition, we receive more than our fair share of winter rain, normally in excess of 1600mm annually. Our prevailing summer winds are from the south-east which resulted in our vineyard row layout being north/south which maximised the vines' exposure to the sun during summer months.
Alastair Wood was born and raised in Cape Town before spending thirty years in the consulting industry both in South Africa and overseas. He retired in 2002 and returned to South Africa to live permanently at GlenWood and play a more active role in the business. He is also involved in various community and industry bodies including having led the Bhabhathane project with the objective of transforming education for the 6,000 learners in the valley.
DP Burger effectively established GlenWood and is now both Winemaker and General Manager. His twenty five year length of service is something of a record in the local wine industry and has undoubtedly contributed to GlenWood’s success. DP is a fifth generation Franschhoek citizen with his great-great-grandfather having witnessed and recorded in his diary the departure of the last elephant from the Franschhoek valley in 1868. The diary is today on display in the Franschhoek museum. Aside from managing GlenWood, DP’s next greatest interest is deep sea fishing in which he captains the Western Province team.
We are proud of the fact that our people have, over the last two years, won the following awards:
· Franschhoek Farmworker of the Year.
· South African Cellar Worker of the Year
In addition to Alastair and DP, the GlenWood management team comprises:
· Cornel Paulse – Assistant Farm Manager
· Zinaschke Steyn – Assistant Winemaker
· Riza Fouche – Director of Finance
GlenWood has achieved the following in terms of:
We are delighted to announce GlenWood’s second Platter 5* rating in as many years with the Glenwood Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc Vigneron's Selection. receiving this prestigious rating for the 2017 Guide.
Produced in small volumes, a mere 1,200 bottles, this wine again highlights the uniqueness and diversity of the GlenWood terroir coming together with our “Simple, Natural and Quality” approach to winemaking. Grapes were picked at 22.2°B and given eight hours of skin contact before pressing to 1.4 bars of pressure. The juice was left to settle for two days before racking to barrel. Using only wild yeast, fermentation occurred over a two month period. The wine spent 15 months on the lees. Only new, small French oak barrels were used. Sauvignon blanc component blended in before bottling.
This wine will benefit even more with correct cellaring and can be enjoyed with creamy pasta, white roasts, blue cheese and any seafood dishes.
GlenWood wines have also achieved a wide range of other awards over the last few years. These include:
Wine of Origin Franschhoek
Wine of Origin (WO) is the industry certification that wines have been produced using grapes from a specific district. In the case of GlenWood, all except one of our wines are produced from our own grapes which qualifies the wines as Wine of Origin Franschhoek.
Wine & Agricultural Ethical Trade Initiative (WIETA) accreditation for both farm and cellar in terms of legislative compliance, working conditions, workers' health and safety, and housing and tenure requirements. This accreditation has become virtually mandatory for wineries to meet the requirements of overseas importers and, increasingly, local buyers as well.
Over the years, GlenWood has been heavily involved in the following industry and community initiatives:
Vignerons de Franschhoek, the organisation to which 52 wine farms/cellars belong which promotes Franschhoek wines, underwrites educational programmes for sommeliers, offers technical tastings for winemakers, and contributes to the wine tourism offering of Franschhoek Wine Valley, the valley’s tourism organisation.
Bhabhathane, a multi-year programme to transform the education landscape in the valley. Its scope includes the 21 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and their 700 learners between ages 0 and 5, the estimated 700 children of the same age who are not in any form of educational facility, and the 250 teachers in the 7 schools who teach 5,500 learners from Grade R through Grade 12.
We are privileged to be located in what is often described as the most beautiful wine-growing area in the world. Over the years, Franschhoek has become one of the top tourist destinations in South Africa. This is especially valuable for wine farms such as GlenWood because it affords guests the opportunity to taste our wines first hand and gives us the opportunity to meet with potential consumers.