Tuesday, 27 February 2018 08:46

Harvest 2018

Banner Article 1

As I am writing, we are right in the middle of harvest. Although the drought has certainly affected the yield, the quality of the fruit harvested up to now has been very good. So far, we have picked Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Muscat de Frontignan, Grenache Blanc and Roussane. With regards to red cultivars, we have picked Pinotage for Rosé and for Bowwood, as well as one block of Merlot and one block of Shiraz. The next three weeks will see the rest of the Merlot and Shiraz being picked, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. And finally, the last to be picked will be the Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache Noir. 

Published in Events
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 08:41

We welcome visitors from afar

Our guests from St Austel breweries

Our guests from St Austel breweries

On the marketing side, we have been very busy. Rupert St Aubyn and Simon Leschallas of Southern Wines (our British importers) were out for their annual visit. They arranged some excellent meetings and tastings and a memorable braai with Sheperd Neame and St Austel breweries, both very good customers. We also paid Johannesburg and Durban a visit for our agent’s trade shows and we received great feedback form all our customers.

Published in Events
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 08:34

Vondeling Events – March

March Event

The Vondeling brand has a wide reach during March. Be sure to connect with us to enjoy your daily Vondel.

7 March | The National Eatery Food and Wine Dinner, Johannesburg

Join us when we collaborate with The National Eatery and Speakeasy for a five-course gastronomic extravaganza, including wines paired with every dish. Details here.

The National Menu

Published in Events
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 08:28

Wine of the Month


We are very excited to be releasing our premium, limited release wine, called Philosophie. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend and we only produced 1,800 bottles. It’s our attempt to make the best possible wine from our estate, with no expense spared in vineyard or cellar. Philosophie, is a brave endeavour in which we attempt to marry the mind, the heart and the soil as we celebrate the diversity of Vondeling. Each year a rare Paardeberg flower is selected and illustrated by an artist of our choice to create a unique label. In this, our maiden vintage, we’ve selected Haemanthus sanguineus to be our flag bearer. Appropriately, this delicate bloom was the first to emerge after the devastating veld fire of 2011 and for whom we cry, Per Ignem Vitae… from fire, life!

Get the tasting note here and order your share of Philosophie here. You can also purchase it in magnum size.

Published in Events
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 08:24

Hope for a Nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Of course, the most wonderful thing that has happened to all of us in South Africa, is that we have a new President in Cyril Ramaphosa. As his presidency takes shape, South Africans are gaining new hope for our country. Life under Jacob Zuma was getting pretty bad and the rot was reaching into every tentacle of society. There is a new upbeat buzz all around and everyone is very hopeful of Cyril being an exceedingly good chap. Fingers crossed!

Published in Events
Friday, 02 February 2018 08:19

Julian's January 2018 Newsletter

Happy New Year Fellow Vondelingers!

I hope 2018 turns out to be a cracking year.

Here on the farm, the harvest is late (surprising taking into account the hot and dry conditions), but we started picking yesterday. 5 tons of chardonnay for our bubbly Rurale (Methode Ancestral). It's quite a process to make as it involves perfect timing from Matthew. Read more on what makes Methode Ancestral so special here.

 Newsletter Jan 2018 1  Newsletter Jan 2018 2

The picture of Matt the Winemaker’s “back-of-a-fag-packet” figures is of sugar readings taken in various vineyard blocks which gives us an idea of the premium time to pick, although we usually just go on taste. The other is a picture of Matt catching some relaxation time with Henry before harvest starts.

Published in Wines
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:17

Julian's October Newsletter

Greetings from Vondeling

October has been rather a challenging month. All the vineyards are going bonkers and exploding with life and the chardonnay is flowering already. Everything looking good at this stage although the Shiraz has got off to a bit of an uneven start. Poor old Felix, one of our Aberdeen Angus bulls, twisted his knee ligaments “on the job”and the vet said he would have to be “off games” for the rest of the season, so that rather sealed his fate. He had a good life. Our other bull, Jack, was of course delighted to see Felix go and now has all 50 cows to himself. We have harvested the oat hay and about to cut the wheat which looks great. See picture below.

October Newsletter Pic 1

Published in Wines
Monday, 02 October 2017 11:55

Julian's September Newsletter

Hello Again from Vondeling

As I write to you, it is the most beautiful spring day and everything is budding and blooming like crazy. It is a balmy 26C, but winter is officially over and the rainfall has been miserable. We have had another busy month. September is traditionally a hectic time for sales and marketing. Here in South Africa Hotels and restaurants are gearing up for summer and tourist season. And in Europe, summer holidays are over, schools are starting and everyone is going back to work….most importantly wine buyers!

Sept Newsletter Pic 1

Sept Newsletter Pic 2

Published in Wines
Thursday, 31 August 2017 10:42

Julian's August Newsletter

Greetings from a chilly Paardeberg.

We have had a busy month here on Vondeling. We have planted 4 hectares of Merlot and 1 hectare of Semillon. Exported wines to Mauritius, Germany, China, UK and France and there have been 4 weddings. Our Aberdeen Angus cows have been calving like mad and as I write 48 out of our 51 cows have given birth with no hitches. 3 to go. Our 2 bulls, Felix and Jack are getting quite frustrated and keep breaking out of their paddocks and trying to get to their girls! To cap it all, Matthew Copeland our Senior Winemaker celebrated ten years at Vondeling.            


It is always a seriously major decision when deciding what grape variety to plant. One has to consider what the particular soil/site is best suited for, as well as being able to turn it into a top wine which we can sell for the next 25 years.      

Published in Wines
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 09:20

Julian's July Newsletter

Group at Philosophie Launch 1

Julian Johnsen (Vondeling) Simon Leschallas, Rupert St. Aubyn, Claire Williams, Mark Levison Gower, James Thorne (Cambridge Wines) and Bridget Johnsen (Vondeling)

The end of June and July have been busy times for us involved in Vondeling. On June 22nd in Mayfair, London, we launched our first vintage of Philosophie (2014) which is our attempt at producing an ultra premium Bordeaux blend from our vineyards. Each bottle is numbered and 1650 were produced. Each year, we commission a different artist to create a unique label, making the Philosophie a highly collectable wine. For more details from Matthew, our winemaker, click here. The 2014 is also available in specially packaged magnum bottles.

We also showed the The Rurale 2014, Chardonnay 2015, Babiana 2015 and Erica 2013. The evening was a tremendous success and guests dug into their pockets with reckless abandon, which was highly appreciated, but also a reflection of the quality and good value of our wines. 

Philosophie Six Bottle Box s



Steeple 2 Cropped s   
Damage to the church steeple!


Just before we left for England, we had a

huge storm which wrought havoc all

over the winelands and Cape Town. Our

church steeple took a bit of a battering,

so we have re enforced it with copper to

withstand the Cape Storms in the future

and the result is spectacular.




New Releases


It has also been a busy month of bottling,

with the launch of the Rose 2017 and

Babiana 2016, the Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 and Sweet Carolyn 2016. Our

winemakers Matthew and Emile are

excited about the wines. 


The Babiana will be ready in a few weeks,

but the 2017 Rosé is available. To order

directly, click here.

 Ready for Action s


As I look out the window it is cold and wet….but we need much more. Our average rainfall for the first 6 months of the year is 305mm. In 2017 we have recorded 143mm for the same period. Not good. But everything is now green and when the sun comes out it is truly beautiful and pruning is in full flow and snow sits on the peaks around us. Could be worse me thinks!

Keep warm and enjoy our wines

Until next time



Julian Johnsen





Published in Wines