Solms-Delta

About

Solms-Delta is much more than a wine estate. The magnificent wine estate produces classical wines with a difference… In fact everything about Solms-Delta is different. In addition to its highly acclaimed wines, Solms-Delta offers a variety of highlights throughout the seasons. Experience picnics all year round in its magical forest, modern Cape cuisine at its renowned Fyndraai restaurant, and an annual harvest festival that draws visitors from near and far. The beautiful Franschhoek wine farm estate also features a museum that explores the slave heritage of the area, and six special interest guided wine farm tours that exceed the conventional wine tasting experience. Sample innovative wines and the finest in local cuisine at Solms-Delta Wine Estate, a leading Franschhoek wine farm in the Cape Winelands.

Location Description

Located 15km outside the village of Franschhoek in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

Contact

Fax: + 27 (0)21 874 1852

Features

  • "An estate making lots of waves... very very good wines indeed."

Additional Information

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  • Dog Friendly:
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Winemaker

Hagen completed his BSc Agriculture degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 2005. He then travelled extensively, experiencing harvests in New Zealand, Australia, California and France, where he honed his wine making skills and gained invaluable international experience. “The many differences in winemaking techniques and styles as well as management strategies that I encountered have served to broaden my knowledge base and fuel my passion for wine.”

Returning to South Africa he worked in some of the most renown local wineries; Boschendal, Nederburg, Vergelegen and Zevenwacht, before joining Solms-Delta in 2012.

Hagen shares his passion for wine and love of nature with his wife, who is also a winemaker. They met while studying winemaking together at Stellenbosch. He enjoys hunting, fishing, diving and mountain biking, believing in a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Hagen is very hands-on when it comes to the entire wine making process. He is a dynamic and enthusiastic winemaker, willing to share his knowledge with the small Solms-Delta cellar team. “For me, winemaking is about translating the potential in the vineyards in a manner that respects the integrity of the fruit, reflects its origin and ultimately expresses uniqueness and balance in the wine itself.”

History

The South African branch of the Solms family descended from the Solms-Königsberg line. Take a look at the complete Solms family tree.

This branch apparently left their ancestral lands in the mid 1500s when the Lutheran confession was introduced there by the head of the Solms-Braunfels line. They moved to the Rheinhessen region – near Mainz – and wine farming, which had previously been a relatively small part of the family’s activities, now became its principle focus.

family-house-old-smallThis wine-farming branch re-established itself in the New World seven generations ago, when one of its members – Johann Adam – sailed to the Cape. The immediate precipitant of the move seems to have been the early death of Johann Adam’s wife Ursula Fassnacht and their infant daughter Christina. He was accompanied by his five surviving children: Johann Georg, Wilhelm, Leonhard, Michael and Lorenz.

A second branch of the family, from the Solms-Baruth line, arrived in South Africa after World War II. This was headed by Friedrich Hermann, 3rd Prince of Solms-Baruth, who was exiled after being jailed by the Nazis following the July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. He was accompanied by his wife Princess Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein and five children: Friedrich Wilhelm, Friederike, Feodora, Rosa and Caroline. This branch first moved to Namibia (then South West Africa) before settling in the Cape in the 1960s.

The Team

The Solms-Astor range celebrates a partnership between Mark Solms and British philanthropist Richard Astor, who each control one third of the modern-day Delta estate. Together they have tackled the social realities of South African agriculture with maverick zeal. First they established a trust that benefits the estate’s historically disadvantaged residents and employees. Then they gave it an equal (one third) equity stake in Solms-Delta. From the profits, the farm residents enjoy new, refurbished and comfortable homes, and social programmes that have greatly improved their health, education and general quality of life. To make this three-way partnership work, Solms and Astor put their own assets on the line, reasoning that without a realistic wealth-sharing model their own privileges were both indefensible and unsustainable.

This forward-looking arrangement is based on a full acknowledgment of South Africa’s painful past. The estate’s Museum van de Caab, which houses a treasury of artefacts unearthed at the estate, is a living testament to all who lived and worked there over the centuries. Solms-Delta is also supporting a musical heritage programme – Music van de Caab – that preserves and celebrates the joyous, resilient and defiant musical traditions of the Cape winelands. And, at the estate’s Fyndraai restaurant, imaginative homage is paid to the cultural melting pot of the Cape, with a mould-breaking menu that is built around fresh, indigenous ingredients from the farm’s very own culinary gardens – known as Dik Delta.

Viticulture Consultant – Rosa Kruger

Rosa Kruger, the viticulture consultant at Solms-Delta, is a pretty smart person. She has an M.A. in Communications as well as an LL.B. degree. These qualifications might seem a bit irrelevant for the tough business of wrestling the juices of the vine from the oftentimes unforgiving soils of the Winelands. But Rosa has forthright ideas about the relationship between the organic, complex quality of nature and the intellectual challenge of viticulture.

“Viticulture is a science like law,” says the lawyer. “But not quite like physics or maths, because there is always room for individual talent and choice.” Rosa goes on to say that one of the most important things she learned in her extensive studies in the wine-making areas of the world was that in the Old World there is often no difference between a viticulturist and a winemaker. Over the centuries French and Italian vineyard owners have integrated the crafts of being in the vineyard and being in the cellar; of being both a scientist and an artist. In the New World this happens less often, sometimes winemakers never get their feet dirty in the soil that they so depend on. This is something that Rosa feels very strongly about: “If you never see the grapes until they are delivered to the cellar, it’s like only meeting your son when he is 21!”

Luckily she is very happy about her relationship with the Solms-Delta wine-making team. “The reason why I wanted to come here was that I liked what I heard about the process of wine-making on this farm. The close connection between soil, workers, culture and wine-making.”

In France the wine farmers know from centuries of experience which terroir is suited to which cultivar and they concentrate their few, selected cultivars in those regions. In South Africa we tend to be far more random in our selection of cultivar and terroir. “I think that the Sadie family and Kanonkop are leaders in this field locally. They illustrate the fact that the best wines are made where the cultivar matches the terrior, including the soils… perfectly.” One of her priorities is to examine closely the terroir of Solms-Delta and appraise the appropriateness of the cultivars under cultivation.

Rosa draws on her communications experience. “It is essential to train your workforce. You must get close to the vineyard workers and show them exactly how to prune and deal with all the aspects of viticulture. You can add a lot of quality to the grapes, and therefore the wines, by working with them and demonstrating exactly what they must do and how. A well trained team is often a happier one that produces better, more detailed work.”

Rosa has accumulated ongoing experience at Rupert Wines, Rupert and Rothschild, Cape Point Vineyards and worked with Eben Sadie and in various vineyards in France, Spain, Italy, Argentina and Slovakia.

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Hours

Open seven days a week 363 days a year – closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Address

Delta Road

South Africa

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