Anwilka Vineyards is located just 7 kilometres from the ocean in Stellenbosch’s prime Helderberg region. The property was purchased in the late 1990s and extensive replanting of 40ha of vineyards comprising primarily cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and some merlot followed.
The then owners, Lowell Jooste (the former co-owner of Klein Constantia) along with internationally well-known Bordeaux wine personalities Hubert de Boüard (co-owner of Chateau Angélus in Saint-Emilion) and Bruno Prats (former owner of Chateau Cos d’Estournel in Saint-Estèphe) released the eponymous maiden vintage blend of Syrah-Cabernet in 2005. Anwilka has since established a worldwide reputation for this red blend which has been described by Robert Parker as “the finest red wine I have ever had from South Africa”.
Stellenbosch is recognized as the Cape’s premium red wine producing district. The significant maritime influence in the Helderberg region of Stellenbosch enables exceptional fruit quality. The matching of grape varieties to specific sites was carefully considered. Soils are of moderate potential, allowing low vine vigour and consistently healthy vines. A gentle slope assisting drainage during the winter rains. Minimal irrigation is used, and good water retention capacity avoids excessive hydric stress.
The vineyards are run by manager Piet Neethling and the wine made by young South African oenologist Jean du Plessis. Much guidance is provided by Prats, who successfully directed Cos-d’Estournel, the leading Médoc 2nd growth, for 28 years and de Boüard who steered Angélus to achieve St-Émilion first-growth status.
In May 2012 Anwilka Vineyards merged with Klein Constantia, purchased in 2011 by Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman. De Boüard and Prats remain in the newly-merged company as minority shareholders and Jooste becomes a non-executive board member. The primary objective of sparing no cost when it comes to wine quality, as previously stated by Jooste, de Boüard and Prats, has not changed. Bakala and Harman explained, “The Stellenbosch vineyards of Anwilka will be a great addition to our portfolio, and we are very happy to welcome Hubert and Bruno as partners. Together we want to establish Anwilka’s positioning as a global South African wine brand.
Anwilka Vineyards currently produces a flagship red blend, Anwilka and a second label red wine, Petit Frère; the aim being to produce a new benchmark in quality for South African red wine.
In 2013, a new special wine was added to the range called La Bella Rossa. This off-dry wine was inspired by the great Amarone wines of Northern Italy and was only bottled in magnums in very limited release.