Somewhat of an industry secret, the Bosman family has a farm in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde, part of the premier Walker Bay wine growing region.
The area known as the Hemel-en-Aarde falls under the appellation of Walker Bay and is divided into three wards: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, and the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley where you’ll find their De Bos farm. The vineyards are planted between indigenous fynbos fields in close proximity to the ocean. Here ideal soil types combined with the cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean creates exceptional wine growing conditions.
“The freedom of holding the wind in your hands with your feet in the waves, was my inspiration for making these wines,” says Petrus Bosman, MD of Bosman Family Vineyards (and also the eldest of the four Bosman siblings). Petrus is referring to his passion for kite-surfing as well as to his family’s love for the ocean.
De Bos has been under the care of the Bosman family for almost two decades. It’s named after the dam it borders and is on the most western side of the Hemel-en-Aarde.
The ties with Walker Bay run deep. Generation after generation of Bosmans have spent their holidays in Hermanus. “We would spend our holidays fishing and diving there with our dad. It became our father and son dream of having a vineyard close to the sea, and in doing so having the ability to bring together the things we love – vineyards and the ocean” says Petrus.
De Bos has been planted with cool climate varieties, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc (they’re planning to release the latter in September 2016 to complete the series). For winemaker Corlea Fourie the difference in working with cool climate wines in comparison to warm climate wines was immediately apparent: “The first time I had the cool climate juice in the cellar, it was hypnotising it was so different. What it feels like, what it tastes like – the delicacy of it.
Corlea has a distinct advantage. This is a winemaker with a vine varietal and clonal library at her fingertips. The Vine Garden currently has over 50 different varieties that are available to the South African wine industry.
They had decided to make the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 2015 as the vines were deemed mature enough, and as luck would have it, were rewarded serendipitously with a great vintage.
A clonal nursery to learn from, pristine fruit to work with, vineyards trained using the Guyot system—cane fertility is increased and an aerated canopy that lowers the risk of disease—and high density plantings (which are known to produce better quality of grapes); and you have the ultimate cool climate vineyard.
It’s an enterprise guided by family, one born from a dream between a father and son. The Upper Hemel-en-Aarde range stays true to the Bosman creed of: ‘Fides spes et amor’, meaning ‘Faith, hope and love’. Visitors will soon be able to see this special vineyard for themselves. The Bosman Family are in the process of creating a wine tourism experience. The Upper Hemel-en-Aarde range is available online as well as at retailers across the country.