Notes From the Stellenzicht Wine Maker
Stellenzicht is proud to be in our 5th year of harvesting and in turn commemorating the wine industry’s birthday by celebrating the 364th South African grape wine harvest. In honour of this special occasion, we've decided to take some time to appreciate our winemaker, L'ré Hughes, and ask her a few questions about what's to come for the year ahead!
A Winemaker's Roots
L’Ré was born and bred in Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape winelands. A love of biology, chemistry and the outdoors led her to complete a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Viticulture & Oenology) at the University of Stellenbosch.
After working various harvests in California, Australia and France, she returned to her home terroir to take up several posts at leading vineyards. L’Ré also went on to attain an MSc in Wine Business at the Groupe École Supérieure de Commerce de Dijon in Burgundy, France, cum laude, before joining the team at Stellenzicht.
It is L’Ré’s abiding respect for nature, combined with an intimate knowledge of her terroir, that promises a fine balance in every Stellenzicht wine.
Here's is what L’Ré has to say about the year ahead for Stellenzicht:
"Along with a new year comes all the anticipation and excitement of new opportunities and possibilities.
February has arrived in the in Stellenbosch winelands which usually signals the start of harvest to us. A new season is upon us. It’s been a cool season leading up to the summer months, which will usually push out the start of harvest, but this year it seems like some of our younger blocks will be ready for action in the next 2 weeks. The vineyards are looking healthy and the bunches on the smaller side, which usually indicates great concentration of flavour and aromatics. The arrival of some Chardonnay grapes for our new MCC has unofficially kicked harvest into gear. We are very excited to take you on this journey of grapes to bubbles with us.
Our continued efforts toward sustainable agricultural practices along with our regenerative farming protocol is an ongoing effort from the team. We are seeing great balanced growth in our vineyards surrounded by flourishing fynbos. We look forward to see how this symbiotic ecosystem impacts the development of our vineyards and promotes a flourishing biodiversity alongside our vineyards. The end goal is to farm in harmony with nature while reaping the benefits of premium quality grapes.
As the season progresses and the grapes slowly ripens, we will keep a watchful eye on the vineyards and grapes aiming to pick at optimal ripeness, balanced tannins along with some freshness. This will mean tasting plenty of grapes, long walks in the vineyards and enjoying some Thunderstone Red in the evenings until the harvest season starts and the winery becomes our beehive.
We look forward to sharing this new vintage with you in the near future."
If you haven't tried L'ré's favorite Stellenzicht wine, the Thunderstone Red, well, what are you waiting for? Each bottle is made delicately, sustainably and with minimal intervention which encapsulates a pleasure that is, quite simply, down-to-earth.