A place of blessings
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Every wine farm has that special ‘something’ that sets it apart. From the traditional and historical to the down right quirky and ingenious, this is what makes our winelands so unique and exciting to explore. From galleries to goat towers or even a resident team of snail gobbling ducks, there are endless surprises just waiting to be discovered.

This special place offers visitors a few unexpected delights.

There are two aspects of this beautiful historical farm that make it a gem, and a largely undiscovered one at that. Firstly its all pervasive sense of peace and tranquility and secondly its reputation as one of the country’s foremost producers of kosher wine. The original farm dates back to 1693 when a Dutch farmer, Willem van Wÿk, took possession of the property situated on the southeastern slopes of Paarl Mountain.

As one slowly negotiates your way up the cobbled drive you’re immediately struck by the serenity of the place. It’s totally charming and authentic – nothing faux or fussy about it! The sign at the gate speaks of a love for nature and the quiet life: “Please drive slowly, squirrels have right of way!” it implores. The ancient oak trees and cool, shady terrace overlooks an enchanting pond, where ducks and geese bob contentedly.

In the mid-1980s Zandwijk was purchased by the Cape Gate Group of Companies. As a highly successful family steel business, Cape Gate’s intention was primarily to supply South African Kosher wines to the local community.

At the time most of the kosher wine was being imported, so the family decided to establish a ‘show case’ wine farm for Kosher wines of superior quality. Harsh import duties, a weak currency and, at times, suspect quality, were the main motivational factors in this exciting new venture.

With the objective of producing high quality South African Kosher wines suitable for all occasions, prime wine growing sites on the property (previously a mixed fruit farm) were carefully selected. The next step was extensive replanting and the erection of a high tech, ultra modern cellar.

There are currently nine hectares under vine, comprised of Weisser Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. Fruit is also outsourced from various dedicated suppliers in quality grape growing regions. Around 10 000 cases of Kleine Draken wines are produced annually. There are plans to increase production to meet a growing local and international demand for these unique wines.

Besides supplying to the needs of the local Jewish community Zandwijk now exports as far afield as the UK, USA, Holland, Panama, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A significant amount of ex-pats in these countries are loyal Zandwijk customers explains winemaker Neil Schnoor.

There is something rather touching about the knowledge that the wine you are about to enjoy has been sanctified. Wine is an important element in Jewish society, a symbol of joy and an integral element in many ceremonies. An important part of the Sabbath is the blessing of the wine. Roughly translated the word ‘kosher’ means ‘suitable’ or ‘fit to consume’. All wines and juices made at Zandwijk are not only Kosher, but Kosher for Passover.

The major technical difference between conventional winemaking and producing Kosher wine, is that the juice or wine is pasteurized. Furthermore all additives are required to be Kosher for Passover and every step of the process, from crushing to bottling and labeling is done under strict supervision of the Cape Beth Din. The wines are Mevushal, meaning they have been flash-pasteurized and may be served in restaurants, at functions and by non-Jews.

“I’m passionate about proving that Kosher wines can be highly competitive in terms of quality and finesse,” says Neil. The ever increasing list of Kleine Draken devotees is testimony to the fact that these ‘blessed’ wines can indeed hold their own against the best.

This is an advertorial commissioned by WineNews.co.za as part of Zandwijk's listing within the WINE.CO.ZA portal

Tel: +27.218632368      Email: zandwijk@capegate.co.za  
Pieter Hugo Street Paarl, 7646 P.O. Box 2674 , Paarl, 7620, South Africa