Concept: La Colline is farmed by Anton Roux, a direct descendant of the Huguenot refugee Paul Roux who arrived in Franschhoek in 1688. This vineyard was planted by Anton’s grandfather in the year 1936 on the southern slope of Dassenberg. It’s situated between 310 and 350m above sea-level. During summer, these tightly planted bushvines form a slightly wild looking mess of life and grapes. In winter they resemble a crowd of drunkards cart wheeling across the slope. It is a beautiful old thing.
As is typical in the Cape’s older Semillon vineyards, there are some dark skinned Semillon vines inter-planted with the light skinned Semillon. This oddity is virtually extinct in the rest of the world, and so affords us a chance to make something uniquely South African.
“We aim to vinify extraordinary Cape vineyards. In doing so, we hope to find the voice of the land itself. Whether that voice be a choir of amazing blocks blended into one bottle, or the purity and beauty of a single vineyard soloist. We strongly believe that fine wine is grown, rather than made. In our cellar, a vineyard is allowed to become a wine without interference.”
Chris and Suzaan Alheit are a husband and wife team. They’ve worked in the Cape wine industry, as well as working harvests together in California’s Napa Valley, Western Australia, St.Emilion in France, Clare Valley in South Australia, and Germany’s Mosel River. During their travels they also toured and tasted in New Zealand, Languedoc, Rousillon, Provence, the Northern and Southern Rhone, and the Cyclades (Greece).
These adventures overseas filled them with a tremendous respect and admiration for the great wines of Europe. To them Europe is the heartland of truly fine wine, and they wish to apply lessons learnt there to what they do here in the Cape.
“Traveling gave us a lot of valuable perspective. It also cemented a real sense of excitement for what the Cape can achieve if we play to our strengths. The Old World way of thinking really inspired us.”
Making wine has become a family affair. Parents, Bates and Michelle Alheit play a critical role in the business, as do their ever enthusiastic friends Hans and Mary Anne Evenhuis.
Alheit Vineyards is based on Hemelrand, a beautiful mountain farm situated high on the Hemel & Aarde Ridge in Walker Bay. This rugged piece of fynbos covered land belongs to Hans and Mary Anne Evenhuis. Complete with stone buildings, Hemelrand is planted to an olive grove, lavender fields and a very exciting vineyard.