Wine News – Page 3

Avontuur celebrates National Wine Challenge Medals

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen attended the Awards Ceremony for the 2017 National Wine Challenge last night to collect our awards, with the high point being the Double Platinum and Top 100 certificate for the Avontuur Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. 

Over and above the “big” one, Avontuur was also awarded a Double Gold for Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015 and Double Silvers for Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2016, Cabernet/Merlot 2014 and Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2015.

When asked to comment about the achievement, Jan had this to say:

“The Cabernet Sauvignon variety features in 2 of the awards for Avontuur Estate this year and confirms, yet again, that the Helderberg area is a top location for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Notably the Chardonnay also came through beautifully – on its own as the barrel fermented Luna de Miel  – as well as in a blend with Pinot Noir.

Having the Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve from the 2015 vintage score a Double Gold here is truly inspiring and rewarding to our efforts in shaping and developing this brand.

We are grateful to the vineyard team, the marketing team and the cellar team and many thanks to NWC Top 100 for honouring us in this way.”

The wines are available from the Estate Tasting Room and selected retail outlets in the Western Cape and Gauteng.  Wine lovers are welcome to order via our wine shop South African Wine Store or directly by emailing Ella or Marcelle in our tasting room at


Q & A with our winemaker

With another harvest behind us and the grapes safely in the cellar, our winemaker Jan van Rooyen shares some of his thoughts for the future in a Q & A session.

  1. Tell us a little bit about the vineyards and progress there?

I’m really happy with the work we’re doing on our Pinot Noir vineyards as they are planted on a great south-facing slope closest to the sea, which just screams quality.  I also personally love Pinot Noir, so it is a treat to work with these grapes.

The small block of Petit Verdot (1 ha) is destined to become an integral part of our flagship Bordeaux-style blend, the Baccarat for which I always strive to get the best grapes possible.  Basically the better this grape is, the better our blends will be. 

This brings me to our “bread-and-butter” line, the Cabernet/Merlot, which will eventually possibly  feature a little “injection” of Shiraz to add some complexity.   Although you don’t want to mess with a winning recipe, one can always improve!

The Viognier has been coming along for about three years now and it’s already playing a positive albeit tiny role in some of the whites eg the Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve and the Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve.  Further evolution could include the use of Viognier in our top reds as well.

  1. I believe there’s a new dessert wine in the offing?

One of the exciting new products planned for this year is the Natural Sweet Viognier which will be released under the Above Royalty label.  We were lucky enough to bring in a wonderfully healthy ripe Viognier for the 2017 vintage and with our flexible approach to the dessert wine product line, we would bottle it as a natural dessert wine to replace the current fortified Liqueur Wine which is nearly sold out.

  1. You are phasing in the new Estate labels. How do you feel about them?

The new packaging with its distinctive diamond shape is simple and modern and suits the wines we’re planning to make this year and over the next few years.  The label has been received very well in trade and we love the elegance and clarity of the design. 

  1. Update us on the progress made with the Pinot Noir Chardonnay Blend.

From its inception as the Vintner’s Blend, this wine has been a winner.  Three years ago we decided to include it in the Estate range and add some quality elements to it, which has paid off.  This is an exciting wine to work with as it’s evolving all the time, and it’s great to see wine consumers enjoying it too.  The signature has been established and it’s coming more and more into its own with every new vintage.

  1. Avontuur is doing a lot of work to promote Cabernet Franc amongst wine lovers. What is your take on this varietal?

I am proud to announce that we have now been making a single varietal Cabernet Franc at Avontuur for 21 years!   The first one was produced in 1996 and was mentioned in the 1998 Platter’s.  Our 2014 is being released and it’s a fruity wine with fine tannins, elegance and that typical “fynbos” character always prevalent in our Cab Francs.  This year sees the third Cab Franc Carnival sponsored by Avontuur Estate and it’s growing every year, although we do try to keep it niche and upmarket to suit our farm and intimate family-orientated approach.

  1. Pinotage is our “national” grape. What do you think about the Avontuur version?

With new plantings coming nicely into their own our Pinotage is a quality product with a loyal fan club who support it throughout.  I would love to “play” a bit with the style as the diversity of Pinotage is becoming quite a driver in the category and the grape lends itself to experimentation, always keeping to our Estate positioning though.

Harvest 2017 successfully completed

It’s been a busy, hot and dry harvest with increased yield coming into the cellar in spite of the negative outcomes initially expected by the industry.  Winemaker Jan van Rooyen and the vineyard and cellar teams have been going basically non-stop since mid-January and it was with a huge cheer that the last bins were delivered safely to the cellar last Monday.

Harvest team 2017 celebrate the end of the harvest!

It’s harvest time in the Boland

Harvest 2017 started off in January with the first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being harvested for our Methode Cap Classique Sparkling wine.  The team is currently bringing in Sauvignon Blanc and the cellar is in full swing.

Our tasting room offers visitors the chance to taste some of the ripe grapes, so when you are at the farm, make a point of trying those!

Harvest time in the tasting room

Good luck for vintage 2017.  We hope it will be a good one.


New wine packaging launched

Avontuur Estate is proud to start off the New Year with a brand-new look for the Estate Range which can be seen for the first time on the newly released  Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2016,currently only available from the Estate tasting room.

The project was started in mid-2016 by brothers and co-owners Michael and Philip Taberer, who drove the process throughout with input from various experts in the field.

The   new livery sees the brand name taking centre stage with the wine information conveyed clearly and simply. The prominent horse icon commemorates the important Thoroughbred Stud business side of the Estate.

“We did a lot of research and it’s amazing how much work needs to be done to create clear communication and simplicity. I feel we’ve accomplished a great look, which highlights our brand and quality positioning,” says Michael Taberer.  “The distinctive diamond shaped label will stand out amongst the crowd and we hope that it will soon become iconic for the Avontuur Estate wine brand,” Philip added.

Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2016 styled square

Designers “The Mark Studio” comments on their creative thinking; “If we had to summarize the process into one word it would be ‘refining’.  It was taking from what the current labels had and modernizing it, giving the elements a bit more breathing room on the label. We also increased the real estate of the label as the previous labels were visually too small for the bottle.”

The rich history in equine breeding was unique and therefore it was leveraged and showcased. Hence the iconography of the race horse, its proud pose and that it is foiled.

“The goal of the label was to appeal to both new and established wine drinkers.  The foil colour was changed from gold to copper as it felt more approachable, whilst still holding classic wine cues,” the design team concluded.

After the Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2016, the Cabernet/Merlot 2014 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 will follow.

Summer sizzlers and bubbles this November!

We’re celebrating summer in the tasting room with a 3-pack Summer Sizzlers special for only R230 for the box!  Inside you’ll find the perfect wines for a warm day:  a bottle of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay to pair with sushi or salad, a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy ice cold on its own,  and a bottle of our highly rated Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve to be served with a spicy Thai green curry chicken dish or something rich and yummy like roast duck. The usual price for these 3 wines would be R268, so you save R38.


And for those of you who love the pop of a champagne cork, stock up now with a few bottles of our MCC Brut, a light pink Pinot Noir/Chardonny,  which was awarded 4 stars in Platter’s and received a silver medal in this year’s Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. You will pay R130 instead of R142, so it’s a real deal!


Our tasting room is open daily, and we look forward to welcoming you soon.

Avontuur Brut wins Silver medal

We were over the moon when we heard just after the weekend that our hand-crafted MCC Brut N/V was awarded a silver medal in the 2016 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge.

It’s a pale pink blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which is just perfect for a celebration or to enjoy on a sunny day on the terrace.

It’s available for tasting daily in our tasting room and we’d love to share it with you.  You can also start off the day with a slap-up breakfast and a glass or two of this in our restaurant!  Hope to see you soon.


Triple gold for Avontuur wines

Jubilation all round this morning when we got the news that three Avontuur wines have been awarded Vitis Vinifera 2016 Gold medals in this annual local wine competition.

The Gold for Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2015 didn’t really come as a surprise as this wine has been a winner since its release a few months ago, with an IWSC Bronze medal already featured.  The Cab/Merlot 2013 is adding to its medal haul with two gold medals now featured on this bottle where the Pinot Noir/Chardonnay sports only this one – but it is a shiny gold award!


According to winemaker Jan van Rooyen he’s extremely happy with all the awards, but the one for the Luna is especially close to his heart as he’s put a lot of effort into bringing this wine back to where it should be – one of SA’s best wooded Chardonnays!

All three wines are available in selected stores in the Western Cape and Gauteng, as well as in the tasting room which is open daily for tastings and sales at the Estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.  We hope you pop in to share in our achievements!


Rich medal haul for Avontuur wines

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen and his team are thrilled with recent awards for some of this Helderberg Estate’s wines.

First up a fortnight ago was the Gold Awards 2016, who awarded a Gold medal for the 2013 Cabernet/Merlot which is one of the Estate’s big sellers.   “This is a popular easy-drinking style of wine, for an affordable price, but I like to believe that it over-delivers on the price,” says Jan.

This week the International Wine and Spirits Competition’s medals were announced and the Estate’s highly rated and much-loved Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2015 was awarded a Bronze medal in this prestigious international competition.

“But the one I’m most excited about is the Silver for the 2012 Minelli Pinot Noir Reserve,” says Jan.  “Stellenbosch can make wonderful Pinot Noirs although we’re not as famous for this varietal as the Hemel-and-Aarde valley region near Hermanus.  I love making Pinot Noir and this award is a personal achievement for me,” he concluded.

According to the organisors of the IWSC the South African wines did extremely well and standards were higher than ever, making it a real achievement to scoop a medal in this huge competition.

The Minelli 2012 is not yet released at the farm, but will be available for tasting soon.  In the meantime the 2011 vintage is flying the flag for Pinot Noir.  However, the Cabernet/Merlot 2013 and Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2015 are both available in the tasting room for tasting and sales.

Employment offered: Tasting Room Positions



If you love wine, have at least two years of experience in a wine tasting room and are a good sales person, we’d like to hear more.  Our buzzing tasting room needs a 2IC on a daily basis, and it could be you!

You will also need to work two weekends per month and assist with wine events, tastings, festivals and the many activities which take place on the farm. The position would suit a young-at-heart, energetic and keen wine marketer, who needs a permanent position as a stepping stone into the industry.


Our busy tasting room is the heart of our winery, and we love to employ keen, enthusiastic wine lovers to keep our clients and visitors happy, especially over the summer season.   We’re looking for a team of casual staff to assist and will offer training and experience in this fun position.

The openings are mostly for weekends and public holidays, but some week days and evenings as well if it suits your schedule, with events, festivals and special tastings part of the job.   You must be available over November-February as that is our busiest time!

A basic wine qualification and/or some experience with wine sales and marketing would be an advantage.  Would suit over-18’s, students or gap year interns.

Let us know if you’re interested – we’d love to meet you!



  • Send us a 1-page CV with your qualifications and experience.
  • Tell us why you want the job!


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