Kleine Zalze is situated two miles outside of the town of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Vineyards are located on a variety of slopes and aspects and benefit from a broad range of soils, from light and sandy to decomposed granite. The regional climate is Mediterranean with hot dry summers and cool wet winters. The vineyards that carry the fruit for the Kleine Zalze range of wines are exposed to fresh ocean breezes from the coast, which lies just 9 miles away. These breezes have a moderating effect on the hot summers. The resulting slightly cooler climate yields delicate flavours whilst at the same time provides optimal growing and ripening conditions for the fruit.
Farm manager Henning Retief and viticulturist Schalk du Toit provide the foundation for the prize-winning wine portfolio, ensuring grapes of exceptional quality by employing viticultural techniques that focus on sustainability. Their success lies in giving special attention to management of the microclimate around grape bunches. Their decisions, such as vine row planting direction, trellising and the height above the ground of vines, as well as the shape and density of leaf canopies all impact on the quality of fruit delivered to the cellars. Close attention is paid to cultivating grapes of exceptional quality and each vineyard is assessed and managed individually during the growth period. Extensive yield reduction is also done to produce the best quality, fruit driven wines with outstanding character and maturation potential.
Low yields are also a key feature of Bush Vines Chenin Blanc vineyards where many wineries are replanting these historic vineyards with more productive vines, at Kleine Zalze the high quality of these low yielding old vines is recognised and actively championed.
Fruit is sourced from the 120 hectares planted on the Kleine Zalze estate and the remainder comes from long term contracts, giving control from vine to bottle. Each vineyard block is vinified independently to give the winemaking team the building blocks to create wines with a sense of place.