At Jacobsdal wine farming is a creative act, and dedication to soil and vine a way of life. Grown as bush vines, the crop is limited by extensive pruning, making it possible to produce quality grapes under absolute dry-land conditions, and the wines are made with minimal intervention, using traditional French natural fermentation techniques.
At Jacobsdal, wines are genuinely hand-made. Little has changed in the Jacobsdal cellar since it was built in 1920, from the ornate gable with crudely cut holes for ventilation, to the open cement fermentation tanks beneath and the hand-made instrument for ‘punching the cap’.
No commercial yeast has ever been used in the cellar and fermentation is allowed to develop spontaneously from the natural yeast cells on the grape skins. Researchers believe a unique yeast strain has developed in the vineyards and in the cellar which imparts a broad spectrum of desirable characteristics to the must. During fermentation, the cap of skins is punched through regularly into the juice using long wooden poles with crossbars to extract optimal colour, flavour and tannins.
The wine is then matured in small casks of French oak for 18 months, and allowed to settle in the bottle before being released.