Riebeek Cellars is a winery in the picturesque Riebeek Valley, in the heart of the Swartland wine region of South Africa.
We have a passion for the unique Swartland landscape and for the people of the Riebeek Valley. Through close collaboration with our community we produce quality wines that are testament to the expressive nature of the Swartland wine region.
Established in 1941, we are the authentic W.O. Swartland wine producer. 30 Families across the Riebeek Valley, including 3rd and 4th generation wine grape growers, are our only source, ensuring continuity of the finest quality W.O. Swartland wines.
Like our wines, the Riebeek Valley thrives with creative energy, gourmet fare, farm fresh produce and the vibrant, uncomplicated lifestyle of its people. It captures the essence of the Swartland - where passion, creativity and simplicity are distilled into a captivating experience.
Winery Philosophy: At Riebeek Cellars we are dedicated to pursue the truest expression of the Riebeek Valley in the heart of the Swartland wine region of South Africa. We hand-craft wines of distinctive flavour, elegance and balance, to be shared and enjoyed.
Dispatched by Jan van Riebeeck in search of the perfect place to grow provisions for the Dutch East India Company, Lieutenant Pieter Cruythoff first discovered the Riebeek Valley in 1661 and founded the village of Riebeek Kasteel. Impressed by the single standing mountain, he called it Kasteelberg (‘Castle Mountain’) commemorating the ‘Castle of Good Hope’, the fortress of Commander van Riebeeck in Cape Town. He was the first to recognise the exceptional terroir potential for wine grape vineyards.
CEO: Andre Engelbrecht
Fast forward 300 years of proud wine-making tradition, nine local wine grape farmers in the Riebeek Valley, established Riebeek Cellars in 1941 on the foothills of the Kasteelberg Mountain. The first of its kind in the Swartland, Riebeek Cellars is the authentic wine producer in the Swartland wine region.
Continuously evolving and innovating, Riebeek Cellars has successfully transitioned from a co-operative wine cellar in the early days, to the modern wine company we are today. Our wine team, including a full-time viticulturist, partners with our local wine grape growers to harness the unique Swartland terroir.
Winery Acreage: 3,000 acres under vine
Winery Production: 1,100,000 / 9L cases
Varietals Produced: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Colombard, Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet
Winemaker: Alecia Boshoff & Eric Saayman
The Swartland is a rugged place of untamed beauty and unique, distinctive terroir.
The terroir of the Riebeek Valley is mainly affected by a Mediterranean climate and diverse, prehistoric Sandstone and Shale soils from the majestic Kasteelberg Mountain. Both significantly influence the style and quality of our wines.
Average age of the vines is 12 years. Oldest are 47 year old bush-vines.
Our vineyards are situated at heights that vary from 60m to 300m above sea level, against the slopes and foothills of the Kasteelberg Mountain. Because of the topography, the soils offer rich diversity, including: Oakleaf and Dundee alluvial soil from the sediment of die Berg River and Swartland and Glenrosa soils from underlying shale along the Kasteelberg Mountain.
Rainfall occurs during winter months with enough cold units to ensure a proper rest phase for the vines before bud-break in early September. The summers are intensely hot and dry with some cooling westerly winds that are ideal conditions for producing fine white and red wines.
A low bearing region with limited irrigation, our key vineyards are still farmed as either dry land farms, or with some supplementary irrigation to help the crop to optimum ripeness. The soils and dry land conditions have proved ideal for bush vine (un-trellised) vineyards. The dry land conditions result in small berries with layered flavour, near perfect colour and soft tannin structures that deliver fruit-driven, expressive wines for the novice and connoisseur alike.
The Riebeek Valley supports a great diversity of varietals that flourish here but it is our exceptional Chenin Blanc, Shiraz & Pinotage that shows the best of what the Swartland terroir can do.
Our wine team, including a full-time viticulturist, works with our grape growers to sustainably develop varietals and sites that best translates the Swartland terroir. Using only free-run juice from the finest grapes, a passionate wine team craft clean, crisp, well-made wines that are true-to-type with focussed fruit and great purity.
MEET OUR WINE TEAM
ALECIA BOSHOFF: WINEMAKER & HEAD OF PRODUCTION
“I firmly believe that the specific character of each wine has its origin in the vineyard and therefore my goal is to express the uniqueness of our terroir in each glass of wine. Understanding and harnessing the diversified terroir of the Kasteelberg Mountain and the individuality of each vintage guides me in creating special wines rather than blindly following fixed recipes.”
ERIC SAAYMAN: SENIOR WINEMAKER
“Innovative technology and modern cellar equipment enables me to produce wines that boast sought after titles and prestigious awards. Wine lovers are invited to experience the fruit of our wines and to enjoy true Swartland hospitality.”
ZAKKIE BESTER: OENOLOGIST
“To our wine-making team it is f the utmost importance that wine produced under any Riebeek brand accomplishes the highest standard of excellence. We as a team strive to create wines that embody the uniqueness of our region through meticulous dedication, enthusiasm and passion.”
THARIEN HANSEN: VITICULTURIST
“Essentially the winemaking process begins in the vineyard as winemakers can only make superior wines from quality grapes. Such grapes are only produced when terroir and sustainable vineyard practices are unified. We partner closely with our wine grape growers to ensure that we get the best from our vineyards and preserve this unique terroir for generations to come. It’s all about respecting what we have, and being passionate and considerate in what we do with it. ”.
THEMBILE NTLOKO & WOUTER LOUBSER: Assistant winemakers.
OUR COMMITMENT TO ETHICAL PRACTICES
Riebeek Cellars is passionate about the ideals of the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), a South African initiative that aims to decrease chemical intervention and improve waste management throughout the industry. It's also why we're a member of the WWF's Biodiversity in Wine Initiative (BWI), which underlines our commitment to protecting our remaining endemic ‘renosterbos’ and adopting better farming practices to ensure healthier natural systems.
Riebeek Cellars is WIETA accredited and we require that all our producers are also certified. WIETA accreditation helps us focus our energies toward ethical trade, fair labour policies and the highest level of occupational health and safety compliance. While we regularly review and update our HACCP and ISO9001 rating, our BRC rating is covered by our shareholding in Paarl Valley Bottling Co. where we bottle all our own wines.
The Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa, appointed by the Department of Agriculture, certifies that:
1. The vintage, variety and origin that are shown on the label are correct.
2. The wine has been produced sustainably, in an earth-friendly manner.
3. The wine can be traced all the way from the vine to the bottle.
4. It was bottled in South Africa – so it is 100% South African!
Because we value the people in our community, Partnership Vineyards is the fruit of Riebeek Cellars’ empowerment project. Our farm & cellar workers are shareholders of these vineyards and wine company that produces superior, Fairtrade certified wines.
Riebeek Cellars collaborates with wine lovers to produce innovative wines for leisure drinkers and connoisseurs alike.
Using only free-run juice from the finest selection of Swartland grapes, our wines are fruit-driven and well-balanced, with velvety tannin structures and layered flavour profiles that express the unique Swartland character.
Our brands are proudly and authentically W.O. Swartland, and enjoy local and global acclaim.