2015 celebrates three hundred years since the arrival of the first de Waals at the Cape. The family came to Uiterwyk from farms closer to, and indeed, in the very centre of Cape Town. There was a farm on Wale Street, formerly Waal Street, at Constantia, and Langverwacht/Zevenwacht near Kuils River. The name Uiterwyk, or outskirts, came from the fact that the original owner was granted two pieces of land in Stellenbosch and Uiterwyk was used for grazing his cattle. The original dirt track road from Stellenbosch to Cape Town runs through the Estate.
Uiterwyk, whose wines are now known as DeWaal Wines is owned by Pieter de Waal, an historic family legacy since 1864 that boasts nine generations of passionate winemakers.
I had known their late father, Danie, well in the 1980s, about the time he built a new fermentation cellar on the Estate. He was a leading light in the then Cape Estate Wine Producers Association and one of the real gentleman farmers of Stellenbosch, observant of all the social graces and dignity.
The white DeWaal Wines are made by Pieter’s brother Chris, and the reds by Danie de Waal, named for his father. The label depicts three young lions, one looking to the past, one to the present and one to the future.
There is a strong link with Pinotage on this family’s estate. Sitting on the terrace outside the tasting room. Pieter pointed out a vineyard called Kop se Pinotage, with a single wild fig tree in the middle. The vineyard had been planted in 1950 by Danie and his brother Koffie, making it the oldest Pinotage vineyard in South Africa and indeed, the world. This bush vine vineyard is planted on gravel and loam soils on a warm north facing slope. It yields just over 2 tons per hectare which is good going for a venerable 65 year old.
One of the wines I tasted on a recent visit was a Pinotage called C T de Waal. I asked who he was, to be told he was a relative who had been born in the Uiterwyk Manor House and went on to become an Oenologist at Stellenbosch Univeristy. He was a colleague of Professor Abraham Perold, the famed South African viticulturist and the creator of Pinotage. When after 16 years, Perold had gathered sufficient material to make a barrel of Pinotage, he asked his colleague, Charl Theron de Waal, to make the first Pinotage wine. Charl Theron de Waal has stood out of the limelight for a long time, overshadowed by Perold. Nice for him to be honoured in this way – a true pioneer. DeWaal Wines is one of only 6 producers which have won the prestigious ABSA top 10 Pinotage competition 6 times or more, since its inception in 1997.
The DeWaal Premium Range is made up of the Top of the Hill Pinotage, Signal Rock, an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and the CT de Waal Pinotage. The Top of the Hill is one of the more serious Pinotages I have tasted, given its due in the elevation in the cellar, it has stood side by side with Bordeaux wines at tastings Pieter has done in Europe.
The DeWaal Young Vines range of Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Chenin Blanc, Merlot and a Shiraz is a value for money range is placed on the shelves for early drinking and is aimed at everyday enjoyment without departing from handcrafted quality for which DeWaal Wines are so well known.
On the Estate in a restored barn, the family offers a rustic and intimate venue with a warm and welcoming ambience. The old barn and beautiful courtyard areas lend itself to a variety of creative ideas. The hands-on DeWaal team under the guidance of Janine de Waal, Pieter’s wife, will look after your individual needs and requests to ensure that your special occasion is filled with a lifetime of memories.
Light Cheese Luncheons are offered at DeWaal Estate using local cheeses, preserves and breads. The platter is offered at an evenhanded R160.00 for 2 people including your own choice of a glass of wine from the Young Wines Range. It is essential to pre-book with the Estate.
The DeWaal Estate is on the Stellenboschkloof Road in Vlottenburg.
The GPS Co-ordinates are 33.94139 18.76611
Wine Appellation Stellenbosch
Telephone 021 881 3711