Bosman Family Vineyards Eight Generations of Faith, Love and Hope!
Hello my wine loving darlings, it feels like it has been ages since I last chatted to you and shared a memorable experience. Long story short, I have been struggling with my carpel tunnel and things went a skew – 4 months later still struggling with my right hand – which by the way… is my dominant hand. Anyway… that is a story for another day. Today, however I am totally excited in sharing with our Wine Squads experience at 8th Generation Family Vineyards – Bosman. So let us jump straight in 🙂
Bosman Family Vineyards – Eight Generations In The Making…
We all love a good story, and wine with a story attached is even better. So here we are…and grab a glass of your favourite wine, get comfy in your favourite chair and enjoy the read. 🙂
When the very first Bosman arrived in the Cape in 1707, little did Hermanus Lambertus Bosman know that he would be setting the foundation of innovation, faith, hope and love. Hermanus Bosman became a “sieketrooster” (caregiver) for the Drakenstein community. To this day the Bosman family aspires to care for the community. Which we will see now now!
The Groenfontein Farm was granted to a French Hugo in 1699, fast forwarding a few hundred years later to 1810 the Bosman Family purchased the farm.
Jumping into the future by a hundred years, to roughly about the late 1940’s when the family decided to stop focusing on making wine and rather focus on propergating “stokkies. Bosman Adama was born when Petrus Bosman senior sold his surplus vines for the first time in 1947. High-quality plant material was extremely rare back in those days, and after a lifelong dream of Petrus – dedication that every single vine sold on the farm would have a respected pedigree. Right down to this very day, Bosman Adama is the largest vine nursery in Africa, along with its massive spectrum of Vitis cultivars for the production of both superior quality table and wine grapes.
Ok are you ready to time travel one last and final time? Don’t worry… this time it is only a short travel! Just a few decades into the future. We arrive in 2007, here we see Petrus Bosman Junior, (who by the way is 8th Generation), returning the family dream of winemaking. He releases the first wine in 50 years from a newly rennovated 270-year-old cellar. The cellar is still going strong 14 years later! 🙂 Whoop Whoop! Where Natasha Williams is current winemaker, joins the Bosman Family Vineyards in 2014.
The Phylloxera Pandemic
You might have heard that Wellington / Bosman Family Vineyards is the cradle of wine and wonder what is the meaning of this. I mean… well isn’t Constantia the cradle of winemaking? It is, but Bosman plays a huge role in South African winemaking history even to this day.
Well this is another long story. So go grab yourself another glass of wine. I’ll wait! 🙂
You ready? Okay awesome. I will start at the very beginning…
So right back in the day – a few very eager beavers (botanist) from the Victorian era, went to America and collected a few American vines. Bringing these vines back home to England, little did they know the MASSIVE impact it would have on the wine industry. This domino effect is still in play to THIS VERY DAY!
You see my wine friends… hiding away in these American vines, is a creepy crawly pest called: Phylloxera. Now these little aphid/louse creatures are microscopic vinifera gluttons, who is a lover of clay soil and who travels AND attacks in a pack. Wingless females lay tiny little pear shaped eggs in between the soil and the roots of a vine. Once these little hungry critters hatch, they spring into action and eat themselves dik!
They first attack the small little roots. These roots swell and turns to a sickly yellow colour. When they done destroying the little roots, they move on to the mature roots. Wherever these critters attack (eat) on the root, that part of the root dies. After there gluttonous feast a fungal infection occurs and the entire vines withers and dies. And then they move on to the next vine and the next and the next…
Worst part is that these little buggers get on to your boots and farming equipment and well they get a free ride to destroy. Do you see how easily this can become a massive global issue. Certainly it did indeed!
After devastating the vineyards in Britain these little vermin made there way to France and the rest of the European mainland. This spread like wild fire. Two thirds of the European vineyards -destroyed!
Little Critters Discovered in South Africa
On a dark day – 26th November, 1898 the first reports of Phylloxera is coming. Phylloxera destroys about one quarter of the Cape Vines by the 1890’s
And nothing works – No pesticides or other pest management can get rid of these critters.
So what is the solution?
Grafting or what we like to call it in true South African style Stokkies.
You see my wine darlings – the American vine species is immune to Phylloxera. That is why nobody noticed or even knew Phylloxera even existed. Vines from America ooze a sticky sap the repels these critters by clogging its mouth when it tries to feast on a vine. Should the critter be successful in biting into the main root the American vine responds by forming a protective layer of tissue to cover the wound and protecting it from bacterial infections
So the only thing to stop this is to graft/join a European vine with an American rootstock. This way the vine is now immune to Phylloxera.
You by now must be wondering what the heck has this got to do with Bosman Family Vineyards? Hold your horses, I am getting there…
Bosman Family Vineyards – The Cradle of Wine!
Right now getting to my point – You see my wine loving friendzies, Bosman Family Vineyards does not only focus on making wine. Yes, Constantia is the birth place of South African wine, however thanks to Phylloxera pretty much of the vines found in South Africa today is “born” here at the Bosman Nursery. And has been since the late 1890’s
The Nursery plays a huge role in reproducing new and healthy little vines, while their cuttings nursery supplies “stokkies” to many wine award winning producers across the country.
The vine nursery is protected right up against the slopes of Groenberg in Wellington. This spot is idealic for baby vines to grow strong and healthy thanks to the clean mountain water from the Kromme River.
Here you will find “Mother” blocks. These blocks are planted under very specific circumstances ensuring the best quality material.
The rootstock and scion material is produced from these mother blocks. These are being used for the making of stokkies at the Nursery.
The stokkies treated means of waxing. This prevents the drying out of plant material. It is placed under controlled conditions for ideal humidity and temperature to stimulate callus forming of the grafting join.
Once the callus is formed the vines are planted in specially prepared fields in early spring. Once the vine has a strong root system from the stokkies and a lively top growth from the scion cultivar normally after 8 months are the vines removed, certified and selected.
It utterly amazes and fascinates me how much is actually involved in that glass of wine you are drinking right now. It is mind boggling.
Another pretty cool fact is that there is sufficient work year round for everyone on the farm from the nursery, to the vineyards, to the cellar. Bosman Family Vineyards believes in keeping the momentum, investing in their people and their potential, focuses on building a cohesive, sustainable community so that all may thrive and collectively create a valuable legacy. Now that is something to sip on!
“We have lived together, worked together and cared for each other on this farm for centuries, passing on values and skills from one generation to another, over and over again. For us creating opportunities for advancement within our community is not simply a good idea, it is a way of life.”Petrus Bosman, CEO, Bosman Family Vineyards
From extending ownership through a workers’ trust, to spearheading social projects in the farm community, Bosman Family Vineyards is a pioneer in uplifting the local wine industry with its innovation model, which weaves environmental and social responsibility into the heart of the business.
Bosman Family Vineyards believe in the future of South Africa and its wine industry. They are wholeheartedly committed in producing wines of excellence by sustainably growing their community and our environment.
Bosman Adama is an inclusive transformed wine business. Meaning that from 2009, 260 permanently employed workers all receives a 26% stake in the business, a significant role player in the vine and wine growing industry of the Western Cape. To date it is the largest land reform transaction in the history of the South African wine industry.
The mutual agreement between the Bosman family and the members of the Adama Trust is to continuously strive to create and implement projects that builds a sustainable future for not only the community, but also for the environment which they all call home.
Bosman Family Vineyards is a Fairtrade accredited producer since 2009.
So what does this mean? Well basically… fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference in the lives of people who grow the things we love. This does not only limit the wine industry, but chocolates, coffee and much more. You see… the Fairtrade Organisatoin ensures that all trade is fair and all the workers are treated fairly. No forced/unfair practices or child labour happening heree! And not sommer any Tom, Dick and Harry can become fairtrade acreddited. Farmers have to put the effort and make sure their workers enjoy a certain standard of living which includes housing, education, healthcare and working conditions.
So here at Bosman Family Vineyards, every bottle of Fairtrade wine that is sold; a portion of the selling prices is collected and given back to the Adama Foundation. These fund is administered by the farm employees under the mentorship of management. The workers can then spend these funds as they see fit such as improving their social, economic and environmental conditions within their own community.
One of the projects that Bosman Adama is currently working on is the Bovlei Community Project.
The Bovlei Community Project
The Bovlei Community Project i a a Victorian building which is bursting with of activity morning, noon and night. Here you will find it houses the admin offices of the Bosman Adama staff, a clinic, a crèche, an aftercare programme with a computer centre for after-hours study and school projects, a well-equipped kitchen, a well-stocked library filled with books for adults and children; and it forms a meeting place for the various clubs and activities on the go. It also houses a also a counseling office, with a trained social auxiliary worker who takes care of the needs of all those on the farm including assistance for the aged and arranging for individuals to get treatment for substance abuse.
There are a total of 6 projects that the Bosman Adama is currently involved in: (Click on each link to read more detailed info on what is involved in each project)
I am sure Hermanus Bosman would be super proud of the legacy of the Bosman Family Vineyards are leaving today.
Exploring Bosman Wine Collection
The Bosman Family Vineyards has about six different wine ranges: Adama, Generation 8, Nero, Signature Collection, Single Vineyard Range and the Upper Hemel en Aarde Range.
We tasted quiet a few wines that day but – two set the bar super high
Twyfeling Cinsaut 2019
Firsty, I am a super sucker for Cinsaut (the parent grape for Pinotage) There is nothing old fashioned about this wine (Hermitage is the old world name for Cinsaut) This one is bush vine cinsaut! 😍😍😍 Need I say more??
A gorgeous deep plum centre with a lovely purple rim.
Red fruit and berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and sour cherries. You also get a touch of earthiness like herbs, a hint of spice, a touch of smoke, tabacco and tomato leaf.
Absolutely delicious – Medium bodied wine with good acidity. The wine is slightly tart but not acidity tart. Like berry tart – sour cherries, strawberry jam, raspberry coulis, lots of ripe red plums, brambles and blueberries. Good touch of spice like white pepper and vanilla, and a hint of earthiness of smoke, wet stone . It has a luscious mouthfeel with concentrated flavours. It is big and bold and dense despite it being a medium bodied wine. It has velvety smooth tannins ending off with a long and lingering elegance.
A perfect accompaniment to an antipasti platter with cured meat and sausage, with mains of barbecued meat or Italian tomato-based dishes. The perfect Autumn Wine!! 🙂
Cellar Door Price: R230
Firstly a lover of something unusual and rare?? Then you have to give Nero a try!
Bosman Nero is the first and only wine to be made from the Sicilian red grape Nero d’ Avola in South Africa.
At the turn of the 21st century when it was clear climate change was becoming a reality and it was evident that the Cape Winelands would become a hotter, drier place, the Bosmans struck out to find a grape that would thrive in Wellington’s increasingly hot, dry climate.
After a meeting with a viticulture professor and many hours of research later, Petrus Bosman travelled to Sicily to source the very best Nero d’ Avola cuttings. Sadly, only 2 cuttings survived the journey. These cuttings were propagated in the Bosman Nursery. These were then planted out on the Wellington farm.
10 Years later Nero bears testament to the courage and foresight to make a wine that expresses its Sicilian roots yet also celebrates its new-found home in African terroir.
To be honest – I can’t remember the nose and exactly what I tasted in the wine. I just remember it was or is an exceptionally outstanding wine to round off a perfect day. We were driven to the top of the koppie in 4×4’s and were overwhelmed by the luscious valley below all cuddled by rugged mountains.
Heartly welcomed with some bubbles and off course the Nero to go along with these beautiful wines a festive harvest table was set. It was romantic setting! Me…Nero gazing far into the sunset!