Elethu Wines goes for international gold

Elethu Wines, a black empowerment enterprise in the South African wine industry, took home double gold for their Skalie Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 at the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge.

Before the vintage’s general launch last year, Elethu Skalie Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 was signed up for the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge. The wine scored 91 out of a possible 100 points and subsequently netted the double gold.

According to a press release, the grapes were harvested from the best vines at optimal ripeness for this particular wine. It was then cold-soaked for 24 hours after which it was fermented for three days on the skins.

The wine matured for 18 months in new barrels that consisted of 70% French oak wood and 30% American oak wood. Despite being ready to drink, the wine will continue to improve further over the next ten years, says Elethu winemaker Christopher Filander.

Elethu Wines, a black empowerment enterprise in the South African wine industry, came into being in 2007 and the name means “This is ours” in isiXhosa. The farm is situated on the banks of the Breede River in the Breede River Valley near Bonnievale.

There are 33 beneficiaries of the project with the majority being employees of wine cellars in Bonnievale and four of them being responsible for the farming part of the project. Nearly 25 hectares of vineyard have been planted over time, with the first thereof planted in 2011. 

The main cultivar they planted is Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are also Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Nouvelle cultivars present. 

Skalie (or shale) is the dominant soil type on the farm. It is rich in nutrients and, according to Christopher, produces excellent-quality grapes, hence the recognition thereof in the wine’s name.

Previously, Elethu mainly produced grapes for the Bonnievale wine cellar. In 2020, however, they decided to start making wine themselves under the leadership of Christopher, who is native to the region and became a qualified winemaker in 2018. He was supported in this venture by Elethu’s general manager, Kristin Johnson, who used to be head of quality control at a leading Cape winery.

Elethu Skalie Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 arose from this venture. Currently, the wine can only be ordered directly from Elethu for door-to-door delivery at R200 per bottle.

Visit www.elethuwine.co.za, send an email to orders@elethuwine.co.za or call 023 616 2795 for more information.

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