South Africa, Stellenbosch

Vineyards producing the grapes for Rustenberg's wines climb the rich red slopes of the Simonsberg and Helderberg. The style of wine determines the vineyard to be used: Rustenberg has a history of success with reds.

The viticulturist, Nico Walters, and his dedicated team have been working hard to rejuvenate their vineyards by planting virus-free vines imported from France. A small-scale nursery has been started for propagation, providing available rootstock for upgrading, replanting and experimentation. Controlled irrigation is used when necessary to alleviate stressed vines and maximise the quality of the grapes. All grapes are hand-harvested in the early mornings and all vineyard blocks vinified separately, then blended for added complexity.

RUSTENBERG is one of South Africa’s oldest estates with a history dating back to 1682, and by 1781 it was producing 3,000 cases of wine. The estate was divided and fell into decline towards the late 19th century but it was brought back to life by John X. Merriman. In 1941 it was acquired by Peter and Pamela Barlow and their son Simon has run Rustenberg since 1987. They offer a strong, consistent portfolio of red and white wines based on classic varieties. Their flagship wines have gained international recognition and are built to last, so do not be afraid to cellar them for several years or more. Neal Martin,