The story of the soils and biodiversity of Weltevrede
The most Biodiverse Place on Earth
The Western Cape in South Africa is the most biodiverse place on earth. The Western Cape hosts more plant species than the whole northern hemisphere of planet earth. Fauna and flora rarely spotted in other places thrive at Weltevrede. The full extent of the biodiversity is not documented yet, but it is known to include an abundance of aromatic herbs and flowering gems. Our ancestors had a very descriptive way to name these plants, with names like “pregnant onion”, “baboon’s toes”, “hairy nipples”, “voëltjie-kan-nie-sit-nie” (little bird cannot sit), the latter obviously being an uncomfortable thorn bush. The more than 150 hectares of unspoilt nature hosts rare dwarf succulents living amongst the cracks of the shale rocks.
A sense of Place
It is the love for our soil that opened our eyes to the biodiversity around us. The tapestry of soils resulted in a diversity of plant life around us. Similarly this diversity of soils offer diverse terroir with the potential of expressing individualistic wines. During his first years of winemaking at Weltevrede, Philip Jonker made it his mission to make wines that are world class and ambassadors of excellence for the Robertson Valley and South Africa. Weltevrede started winning several awards at international competitions. Today the vision is for the wines of Weltevrede is to be a pure expression of the terroir in which it is rooted.
“Our wines should have personality dictated by the soil. It should have a sense of place,” says Philip.
The Feel for the Soil
Weltevrede values the family experience, the intimate sharing of the feel for the soil almost as much as the soil itself. This anchor of Weltevrede, rooted in time itself, is the foundation of each vine, each flavourful grape berry and each resulting wine. Although close in proximity to one another the soils of the vineyards of Weltevrede are dramatically different, with abrupt transitions from one to the next. There are seventy-two unique vineyards on Weltevrede, some smaller than half a hectare. To generalise they can be categorised in three distinctly different soil types or terroir, namely broken shale rock, rust coloured limestone and alluvial soil.