The Grape Marker

Getting to grips with the grape market

The vineyards at Lutouw Estate are the most north westerly commercial vineyards in South Africa. As it takes approximately three years for vines to come into production, it was essential that the partners had a back-up crop to keep them going financially. “Having monitored the environmental conditions we were sure we had a unique climate and terrior for grapes,” says Lutz.  “We planted vines, but to make the enterprise more viable we did intercropping and planted tomatoes on the same drip as young vines. We started with 4 500t of tomatoes for processing for the informal sector in Durban. This stopped once the vines were in production.”

Grape production demands buyers.  Many of the major cellars only buy grapes from producers who have established contracts with them to supply specific quotas. The partners don’t have such contracts but nevertheless supply leading cellars in the Stellenbosch area such as Kleine Zalze, Distell, Vergelegen, KWV, Eikendal, Stellar and few others. “We don’t make our own wines”, says Lutz.

 “We have planted varieties which are complimented by the climate, such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon blanc. The wine quality of the Sauvignon blanc is exceptional, unique and in great demand and its quality is enhanced by the cool sea climate. We also grow Shiraz, Cabernet sauvignon, Semillon and Chenin blanc. A big advantage for us is that due to cool breeze from the Atlantic ocean and the low rainfall we don’t have problems controlling the normal viticulture diseases.”

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