Welgegund, meaning ‘well-bestowed’, is the perfect title for this heritage estate nestled at the foot of the magnificent Hawequa mountains at the end of an oak-lined cul-de-sac in Wellington. Visitors don’t have to venture far to experience the fruits of its blessings: a place of natural beauty, heritage buildings dating back to the early 1800’s, ancient dryland bush vines and a unique fingerprint of terroir and climate. 

The ancient, decomposed granite of the foothills yields vines that produce intensely flavoured fruit ideal for creating the very best wines. The breezes funnelling down the valley from the Bains Kloof Pass moderate the extremes of the climate and the old dryland bush vines offer extremely low yields of fruit (average of 2,4 tons per hectare) with exceptional concentration. With quality the bedrock, the focus is on growing cultivars uniquely suited to the farm, namely Rhône-style varieties.

“At Welgegund Heritage Wines we only bottle our premium high-end wines in great years”, says winemaker, Friedrich Kühne. “‘Well-bestowed’ takes on a new meaning at Welgegund when we are blessed with excellent vintages, when our climate and terroir come together perfectly to produce exceptional wines.”

2017 proved to be an outstanding vintage which saw the maiden releases of Welgegund’s single vineyard Cinsault and Grenache Noir (in bold new contemporary packaging with classic wax seals), as well as their popular barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc, honoured with impressive ratings in both Tim Atkin’s South Africa Special Report as well as Platter’s 2020 Wine Guide. 

“2019 has been another exemplary vintage, one of the best in many years,” continues Friedrich. “As we farm dryland, soil moisture contributes a lot to quality. Between October and January preceding the 2019 vintage we only received 65mm of rain which resulted in extremely low yields of small berries bringing intense concentration to the wines, with a wealth of fruit, richness, texture and depth of flavour.” 

Welgegund’s wine philosophy is to craft wines of authenticity and distinction, with intense detail in the vineyards, and minimal intervention in the cellar to allow vineyard and terroir expression, to create wines true to the cultivar. Gentle winemaking allows the expression of the natural elements bestowed upon Welgegund and careful extraction of aromas, colour and flavour.

Friedrich continues, “I believe our 2019 wines exceed our 2017 wines in quality, being more linear, showcasing the cultivars in their purest form, with a broad array of fruit aromas present. The small 2019 volumes allowed for a more traditional artisanal approach to winemaking which has resulted in increased quality. Our 2019 reds were whole-bunch fermented (some in open 500L barrels), making early wood integration possible, also adding elegance, textured smoothness and enhanced fruit aromas and flavours to the wine. 

We worked with the grape stalks to add extra dimensions to the wines like freshness, spice, and soft powdery tannins. Our smaller volumes allowed for grape stomping of some batches of our Cinsault, Shiraz and Grenache, a gentle process that keeps the berries intact – Rhône-style varieties require a very gentle approach. Our new lightly toasted bigger 500L barrels allowed Welgegund’s unique terroir and the quality of our fruit to shine through, and our new Dissolved Oxygen Meter helped us control oxygen levels during winemaking and bottling. We employ age-old winemaking techniques, combined with new technology, to offer you the best wines possible.” 

“We are especially pleased with the 2019 bottlings of our three limited release wines, the Chenin presented in the estate’s distinctive new packaging for the first time, and we are delighted that we have already received three prestigious awards. Our Cinsault 2019 was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2020 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, our Grenache Noir 2019 received a Top Ten award at the 2020 Prescient Minority Report (Niche Red Varietals) convened by Winemag.co.za and our Chenin Blanc 2019 won a Gold Medal at the 2020 Veritas Awards.” 

Welgegund have pulled out all the stops with their creative and distinctive new wine packaging, which is minimalist yet compelling with strong visual appeal: bold imported bottles, simple and elegant wrap-round labels, numbered bottles and regal vividly coloured wax seals to communicate the handmade details Welgegund include from start to finish in their wines.

Winemaker’s Notes: The Chenin Blanc grapes come from a dryland vineyard planted in 1974 (46 years old) which is certified as a Heritage Vineyard. They were harvested by hand at 22,5° B in the early morning to obtain the best quality fruit possible. The grapes were pre-cooled for 18-24 hours to prevent oxidation when working with the must, then whole-bunch pressed, settled, and fermented in a combination of 500L barrels (natural ferment) and stainless-steel tanks. Fermentation was partly natural, with different yeasts added for the desired complexity. 33% of the wine was aged in 2nd fill 500L French oak barrels for 14 months. 

Tasting Notes: Clear medium lemon in colour, the nose shows beautiful layers of candied citrus, lime and lemon, ripe pear, quince, fresh peach, and honeysuckle. The palate is soft and elegant with flavours of star fruit, honeydew melons and lime, and finishes with a salty minerality and a touch of nuttiness. 

Serving Suggestions: Serve with roast duck confit and orange sauce. Also delicious with crayfish, langoustines, sushi and line fish carpaccio or gnocchi with green peas and almonds. The wine will also complement a citrus tart or nutty nougat.

Limited release: Only 1801 individually numbered bottles have been produced.

Awards: Gold Medal at the 2020 Veritas Awards.

Retail price: Welgegund Heritage Wines Chenin Blanc 2019, graced with a striking sunflower yellow wax seal, is only available from the estate and their website’s online shop for R287,50 per bottle (VAT inclusive).