5 GENERATIONS OF WINE MAKERS
The De Wet family have farmed at Excelsior Estate, in the Robertson wine valley, since 1859 when Koos de Wet settled here and began clearing the veld of the Little Karoo.
Koos de Wet was a direct descendant of Jacobus de Wet, the first member of the family to arrive in South Africa. Jacobus, who was an official of the Dutch East India Company landed in Cape Town in 1697 and made planting vines a priority. He bought a large farm in Stellenbosch and later earned the distinction of being one of the first wine makers in Cape Town and the Southern hemisphere. Most of the de Wet family eventually settled in the Worcester area but after a family disagreement (he fell in love with his brother’s fiancé!) Koos de Wet came to the Robertson area and established himself at Excelsior Estate. He later divided his farm between his sons who went on to breed horses and plant vineyards. The third brother, Jacobus Stephanus (known as Kowie) inherited Excelsior and, in addition to producing wine, soon became one of the most successful ostrich breeders in the Robertson district.
Wine has always been made on the estate. It is now the most important crop on the farm and Excelsior exports wine to over 20 countries. The farm has 220ha planted with noble cultivars; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are also small plantings of blending cultivars such as Petit Verdot and Viognier. Our aim is to produce full-bodied wines that display intense fruit. We achieve this by using strict vineyard practices to ensure a healthy, well ripened crop. We can use chemicals very sparingly thanks to the dry Robertson climate. When they are ready, our grapes are picked by hand which allows greater quality control.