Johann de Wet, De Wetshof Estate

Johann de Wet, De Wetshof Estate

It may sit behind the façade of 18th Century architecture, but that is where history ends and cutting edge technology takes over.

When its beautifully styled façade is stripped away, the inner workings reveal a state of the art, fully computerised, gravity-fed cellar, which has three levels, including a stunning underground wood maturation cellar.

This functionality allows Danie and his team to operate it with absolute precision, which helps when creating a range of top class white and red wines in peak harvesting season.

The computer, manned by one person, monitors the journey of the juice from the time the grapes arrive at the cellar. Careful attention is paid to ensure that each batch of fruit receives the attention it deserves and that the initial conversion to wine is done perfectly.

Nature in Concert

The wine is then either transferred to stainless steel tanks of various sizes, or the underground wood maturation cellar, where 400 X 300 litre oak barrels are housed. A pair of bronze Bateleur eagles soar out of alcoves on either side of the atmosphere controlled cellar – though occasionally other interesting sculptures or artefacts are displayed there.

The barrel-vaulted cellar, with its impressive columns, is also linked to the administration building by a five-metre long tunnel, a section of which Danie intends using as a special tasting and dining room.

On either side of the main cellar are additional maturation and storage cellars, as well as a bottling plant, so that the wine does not have to travel long distances before it goes into its final packaging.