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WINEMAKER: Matthew Copeland of Vondeling Wines

WINEMAKER: Matthew Copeland of Vondeling Wines

One of the newest Cape wine regions is Voor Paardeberg which lies on the slopes of the Paardeberg. Bounded by the wine areas of Paarl, Wellington and the Swartland, this unique area is a treasure house of flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world. From here the land stretches far into the valley under vast, wide-open skies.

The feeling one has when standing on the stoep in front of the tasting room is of complete release – one almost wants to breathe a sigh of relief that such a place can, and does, exist in our country. The prevailing winds and the land that slopes towards the West Coast add to the unique terroir which provides the most fabulous grapes, which have a character all of their own.

The farm called Vondeling dates back to the 1700s when it was granted to Oloff Bergh, a name not unknown in South African wine circles. Today, talented young winemaker Matthew Copeland is making wines there that are making people sit up and take notice. His signature wines pay homage to the flora of the area and to the soil from which they spring.

They are wines of character, well-structured with superb balance between fruit and wood where necessary. He says he makes wines with, “No gimmicks, no sales pitches, just blood, sweat and tears.”

Some people seem to have all the luck. But it isn’t luck that makes things happen – it’s hard work, talent and being in the right place at the right time that counts. Matthew was born in Paarl, a delightful quintessential Cape country town, and travelled extensively working in wine regions across the world, from France to New Zealand. He studied at Elsenburg where he passed with a distinction in winemaking, and now works at the idyllic Vondeling set-up.

To crown it all, he and his wife Yolandi and their two youngsters Joshua (3) and Henry (18 months), live on the farm with all that spectacular scenery around them all day – every day. The family enjoys going for runs and walks on the farm and soaking up the quiet, unspoilt surroundings.

Matthew says, “I got married here, had my two children here – my roots run deep.” He works closely with Magnus Joubert, their viticulturist, and is intimately involved with what is planted, where it is planted and when it is harvested. The fact that Vondeling is a WWF South Africa Conservation Champion is something the farm takes great pride in, continually working as close to nature as they can.

Matthew says, “I use every honest technique and practice to express the origins of the fruit in the most authentic way,” an approach that has paid off in spades judging by the quality of wine he’s producing.

Vondeling chardonnayPETIT BLANC CHENIN BLANC 2018
Unwooded charmer, fresh and alive with tropical fruit aromas, clean and crisp with well controlled acids that won’t strip the palate off you. Marries perfectly with fish and chips R75.

Matured on yeast lees for seven months before four months in barrels makes for a delicious wine, not too rich for its own good but vibrant and alive with fruit. Heaven with creamy pastas and grilled prawns. R135

Very aromatic on the nose with aromas of stone fruits, full and fresh in the mouth with a steely centre supporting all that fruit. Chill well and serve with grilled or seared fresh tuna or sushi. R85

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