Despite a challenging year for the country’s wine industry, Stellenbosch University’s Welgevallen wine cellar received silver Veritas awards for all five the wines entered in this year’s competition. The five wines are: 2019 Die Laan Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Merlot, 2018 Merlot Reserve, 2018 Malbec and 2018 Maties 2018 blend.
“The past year was a tremendous challenging one for us,” says winemaker Riaan Wassung, who had to start work in the early hours of the morning during lockdown to miss the roadblocks before he could get permits. They were still busy with harvesting and fermentations when lockdown was announced in March this year.
“We are super excited to have won five silver medals, in a year were wine sales saw a huge decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent ban on the sale of alcohol. The majority of my customers is also from SU, which was closed for most of the year.”
With fewer sales this year, the bulk of his bottling will now be done in 2021, because he has enough stock left.
Wassung says he bottled a 2020 Pinotage/Pinot noir MCC Rose this year. He will also bottle a 2020 Chenin Blanc Reserve and a new 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend. “I hope to enter all these and other bottled vintages in the 2021 Veritas Awards and hope for gold again,” says Wassung. The cellar’s Die Laan Merlot Reserve 2017 won a double gold media in last year’s Veritas Awards – a first for this university cellar.
The Welgevallen Cellar is the only cellar of its kind at a South African university and falls under the Faculty of AgriSciences. SU is the only university to offer viticulture and oenology as an under- and post-graduate course.
All the wines are currently available in the cellar’s tasting room. For sales, email Riaan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 808 2925, or visit the Welgevallen Cellar during office hours from 9 am to 4.30 pm. You will find it located between Paul Roos Gymnasium and Coetzenburg in Stellenbosch. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/DieLaanWines.
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