Boland cellar, situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, has over the past decade evolved into a dynamic and progressive cellar, one which is fast realizing its true potential.
It is a winery in transition, where the pioneering spirit prevalent in a young democracy such as South Africa's, combines with a winemaking tradition of more than 300 years.
Like the country, it embraces the new and old world, providing stability, yet not afraid to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century.
In the past 6 years Boland wines have proved beyond doubt they are able to compete successfully on the international stage. The winery, through Chief Cellar Master, Altus le Roux won the coveted 2001 International Wine & Spirits Competition "Winemaker of the Year" , being awarded the Robert Mondavi Trophy in London.
At the same time Boland won the IWSC trophies for the World's Best Shiraz and the World's Best Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively with its 1998 Shiraz (Chris Hancock Trophy) and 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon (Warren Winarski Trophy). This, together with a silver for its 1999 Pinotage and two bronze medals, resulted in the winery being named the Best South African Producer in this competition.
In 2003 Boland again received the Chris Hancock Trophy for World's Best Shiraz at the IWSC for Boland Shiraz 2000.
The last 6 years has seen Boland garner a host of medals and awards at international and domestic competitions, highlighting the quality of the wines it offers.
It is teamwork which has brought this success about. Under the guidance of Chairman Jannie le Roux and Altus le Roux (not related), who is also the MD, the company has moved from being a producer for large wholesalers, to a purveyor of fine wines.
The vision of the board to establish Boland as a quality producer - which is able to supply reasonable volumes of wines - means the company is moving away from purely supplying large wholesalers and moving towards developing its own brand.
Outstanding quality starts in the vineyards, which is carried through to the cellars and into the bottle and then to the consumer. This ensures that the word "quality" is not an empty entity used purely for marketing purposes, but one which all members of the company and its producing-shareholders understand and adhere to.
Boland is extremely fortunate in having five different areas from which to source grapes to its two cellars in Paarl. Since South Africa's reintroduction to the world wine arena in the early 1990's - which coincided with Altus le Roux 's appointment to his current position - there has been a dramatic change in vine plantings, wine and management styles to meet the needs of a changing world.
The move away from mass white varietals started when Altus le Roux joined the company in 1984, but has accelerated in the past ten years. Viticultural practices have been upgraded and producers drawn into the vision of good wines being made in the vineyards.
The appointment of Jurie Germishuys as resident viticulturist means channels between the producers and the cellars remain clear, especially during the busy harvest period.
In a carefully planned operation, the move away from mass white varietals, toward noble red varietals as well as top quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is almost completed. This prudent matching of terroir in the five areas around Paarl, to specific varietals is highlighted by the vast improvement in quality of the past few years.
In the cellars, several million Dollars have been spent over the past few years in upgrading facilities to ensure that the better quality brought into the cellars is handled with the care it deserves. Further improvements are in the pipeline.
A number of "estates" have also been created to handle the various varietals from the 5 different areas.
Altus and his winemaking team, Naudé Bruwer and Bernard Smuts, in turn each head up their respective cellar teams, working closely with Jurie Germishuys and the producers so that the end goal of quality wine is attained.
The secret to the team's success lies in the meticulous vineyard selection of the best quality grapes, received from different viticultural areas.
The natural grape flavours are then harnessed through a process of natural fermentation, rather that adding yeast to the juice. At Boland Cellar a wine has to "make itself" under the careful guidance and coaching of our skillful winemakers.
By using natural yeast, a truly South African style of wine is created through expressing the unique natural flavours of the different terroirs, rather than changing them. In the cellar, single vineyard wines are made by the dedicated hands of our winemakers. These wines are then used to create more complex wines by crafty blending. The ultimate aim always was and still is, assured and constant quality for all to enjoy.
During Boland Cellar's early years, a unique natural yeast strain growing on the skins of the grape berries found its way into the cellar during harvest. In earlier years, the yeast cells would grow in the small cracks and folds in wine tanks, and year after year, the unique strain was nutured in the cellar. Today the unique yeast strain still lives in the cellar and finds its way into every wine made here, contributing a unique character to the wines from Boland Cellar.
You can taste the Boland in our wine because it comes from expert grape growers who have a high level of expertise and follow a tradition that's deeply ingrained. Our winemakers are very focused on having the palate provide the basic character of the wine, rather than doing something to change this character.
At Boland Cellar, we passionately follow a traditional philosophy - one which we believe makes our wine special, and gives it a truly unique character.
The philosophy of Boland Cellar is perfect in its simplicity: "teamwork and terroir" - this is evident in the high quality wine produced. During the last decade Boland Cellar, under the dynamic leadership of Managing Director Altus le Roux and the Directors, has undergone a major turn from being a production orientated cellar to a market driven company.
Good leadership enables the entire team - from the producer, viticulturist, winemakers and marketers - to achieve more success and to focus on their specialities.
From this environment of teamwork, planning effectiveness rises a notch, and important information can be gathered from the producers, production and marketers. The processing and sifting of this information enables Boland Cellar to establish the desired cultivars for specific market requirements and also to adapt winemaking techniques to create wine styles in accordance with requirements.