Groote Post commemorates its 15th vintage

Saturday, 14 December, 2013
Groote Post
With the launch of the Kapokberg range (the new name for the three Reserve wines)as well as stylish new packaging for the Groote Post and The Old Man’s Blend ranges

On a crisp early summer’s morning, on 18th November 1999, a blend of wine journalists, wine merchants and friends joined the Pentz family at their lovely West Coast wine farm in the Darling Hills to celebrate the launch of their first wines, the 1999 Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc.

There was a buzz in the air because the maiden Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 1999 had just been awarded 4 stars in WINE magazine’s annual sauvignon blanc panel tasting. In reviewing the 1999 Sauvignon Blanc vintage in their November issue, WINE magazine called it “a vintage from hell” and only picked out four 4-star wines. Notably, the two top Sauvignon Blancs, Neil Ellis Groenekloof and Groote Post, came from adjoining vineyards on the cool sea- and south-facing Kapokberg in the Darling Hills; an area fast growing in stature as a wine-growing area. This fortified those who were touting the Cape West Coast as the next best wine thing, particularly for cold-climate sauvignon blanc. The John Platter South African Wines 2000, in the inaugural Groote Post entry, commented that “the long-overlooked vineyards of the maritime West Coast are not just jumping; they’re dancing into the future”.

On 15th November 2013, this professionally run wine estate hosted a similar event on the farm to commemorate its 15th vintage and to highlight the many developments at Groote Post since its first vintage. True to its promise in 1999, Groote Post has emerged as a leading producer of sauvignon blanc and as one of the most popular wine brands in the South African high-quality wine sector. Today Groote Post is an established wine estate with: 107 hectares of vines under the meticulous care of Jannie de Clerk; a 500-ton wine cellar headed up by Lukas Wentzel since 2000; the award-winning Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant and a 2000-hectare game camp.

Groote Post’s three ranges of award-winning wines are also sporting stylish new labels. “Our new labels depict a return to a more classic style of label which better reflects our rich heritage at Groote Post and our strong family values. The prominent historic Groote Post slave bell, engraved with the date 1706, communicates our centuries old history and the old-world ambience of Groote Post. We have also clearly defined our three wine ranges: The Old Man’s Blend range, the Groote Post varietal range and our flagship Kapokberg Vineyard Selection range, our Reserve range which we have named after the highest hill on the estate where some of our best grapes are grown”, says Nick Pentz.

Groote Post’s three wine ranges

Groote Post’s The Old Man’s Blend range

The Old Man’s Blend Range came into being in 2001 at the behest of Groote Post’s ‘Old Man’, Peter Pentz, who asked the family to blend him a red wine to enjoy as his winter evening tipple. This wine became The Old Man’s Blend Red and The Old Man’s Blend White was subsequently added to the range.

Approximate retail price

Groote Post The Old Man’s Blend White 2013: 60% sauvignon blanc; 30% chenin blanc; and 10% semillon. Rated 4 stars in Platter’s South African Wines 2014


Groote Post The Old Man’s Blend Red 2012: 50% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 20% shiraz and 10% cabernet franc


Groote Post range

Approximate retail price

Groote Post Brut Rosé: A new classic blend of 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir that has replace The Old Man’s Sparkle


Groote Post Chenin Blanc 2013


Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 2013: Rated 4 stars in Platter’s South African Wines 2014


Groote Post Unwooded Chardonnay 2013


Groote Post Riesling 2013: Semi-sweet with beautiful natural acidity and now packaged in a Riesling bottle, rated 4 stars in Platter’s South African Wines 2014


Groote Post Merlot 2012


Groote Post Shiraz 2012: Rated 4½ stars in Platter’s South African Wines 2014


Groote Post Kapokberg Vineyard Selection range (previously the Reserve range)

Groote Post renamed their top range after the Kapokberg, ‘translated as snowy mountain’, which at 459m above sea level, is the highest hill on the estate, offering magnificent views, where some of their top grapes are grown. In days gone by, this hill, covered in magnificent white spring flowers, was known to resemble a snow capped mountain.


Approximate retail price

Groote Post Kapokberg Sauvignon Blanc 2013


Groote Post Kapokberg Chardonnay 2012 (wooded) - to be released soon


Groote Post Kapokberg Pinot Noir 2012: Rated 4 stars in Platter’s South African Wines 2014



Peter and his father, Oupa Nico, bought the historic Groote Post farm in 1972, looking for a cool climate site for their dairy operation, and later added two adjoining farms, including the equally historic Klawervallei. Today the combined farms, Groote Post Vineyards, total 4 000 hectares.

The name Groote Post is derived from the farm’s original status as the largest guarding post in the area, set up to protect cattle and sheep from marauding Khoikhoi stock thieves. A series of restored historic buildings on the estate serve as evocative souvenirs of the farm’s illustrious history dating back to 1706. Co-owner Nick Pentz and his family live in the historic Groote Post Manor House built in 1808. This National Heritage Site was once Lord Charles Somerset’s only genuine ‘shooting box’, and later became the home of well-known author and grande dame of Cape cuisine, Hildagonda Duckitt. On the adjoining historic Klawervallei farm, where all the old buildings are National Heritage Sites, a restored 18th century fort is the home of the Groote Post cellar and wine tasting centre, and Groote Post’s popular Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant is located in the original Klawervallei Manor House. The historic slave bell, depicted on the Groote Post wine labels, is perched on an enormous rock guarding over the wine cellar.

From the dairy business to winemaking

When the Pentz family bought the historic Groote Post and adjoining farms, they were dairy farmers and wine wasn’t even a dream.

The Pentz family had been in the dairy business since 1904, when Peter’s grandfather founded the Union Dairy in Cape Town. Dairy herds were established over time, but as the milk distribution business became less attractive, Union Dairy was sold, freeing up Peter and Nick Pentz to concentrate on the production of milk. Peter Pentz pioneered the commercial importation of cattle semen into South Africa in the early eighties, establishing their semen business, Groote Post Genetics, in 1985.

Fortunately for the wine industry, dairy farming is as terroir “driven” as the wine industry. Not least is the requirement for a cool climate (just like wine) and fertile soils to produce healthy grazing for milk cows. Groote Post farm, in a verdant valley set back from the barren Cape West Coast coastal fynbos, was the perfect dairy farm. The Pentz family were unaware at the time of the rich wine-growing potential in the hills above. However, Peter Pentz is a man of vision and by 1992, after extensive soil testing of the entire 5 300-hectare farm, they identified the best areas and aspects of the farm and during the 1990s planted 117 hectares of noble cultivars. Meticulous and deeply thoughtful farming, with continual upgrading and modification of the vineyards, has seen the Groote Post wine estate, viticulturally, mature into one of the best in the area.

It was the move, in the late 1990s, to winemaking that precipitated the Pentz family’s extrication from the milk business. “Nobody has ever told me they like my creamy milk, as they do with the Groote Post wines”, says Peter Pentz, explaining the emotional decision to sell off this West Coast farm’s famous Holstein herd. “It was the biggest auction of a single herd ever held in SA, possibly the world” says Pentz. Peter Pentz was honoured for his exceptional contribution to the dairy industry when he was awarded National Farmer of the Year in 1998 as well as the World Dairy Expo’s International Person of the Year in 2001. His citation, signed by George W Bush, mentioned his pioneering role in introducing imported semen to SA, and called him ‘a visionary’ and ‘progressive, committed, successful’. “All qualities”, according to the John Platter South African Wines 2003, “he and his son Nick are bringing to bear on their vineyards here in the Darling Hills, 6km from the Atlantic Ocean”.

Vineyards and wine cellar

Groote Post’s philosophy is to produce only the best grapes, concentrating on quality rather than quantity, resulting in the best wine.

The 107 hectares of vineyard plantings are all on the south-facing upper slopes of the Kapokberg and surrounding hills, overlooking the icy Atlantic Ocean. Vineyard altitudes vary from 200m to 450m above sea level. The prevailing summer south-easterly winds keep the vineyards cool throughout the warm summer months. Although soils are deep with good water retention, irrigation was installed a few years ago to alleviate vine stress during the hotter periods in summer.

The 500-ton wine cellar, attuned to a low-intervention winemaking philosophy, was built in 1999. The philosophy of excellence in the vineyards has been carried through to the cellar where only the best 450 tons are vinified, with the remaining grapes being sold off.

Hilda’s Kitchen Restaurant at Groote Post

Groote Post’s well-loved and award-winning Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant - named after, and inspired by Hildagonda Duckitt, a grande dame of Cape cuisine, who once lived on the Groote Post farm - offers the finest country hospitality and myriad gastronomic delights. Debbie McLaughlin, Hilda’s Kitchen’s highly-esteemed internationally-trained cordon-bleu chef, has established Hilda’s Kitchen as a rare West Coast gem, using her culinary creativity to devise delectable seasonal menus inspired by the local produce available. As a dedication to Hildagonda Duckitt, Hilda’s Kitchen’s daily menu includes a dish from her well-loved recipe books, interpreted by Debbie McLaughlin, to suit modern trends. The menu changes daily, but Hilda’s Kitchen’s summer selections, with suggested wine pairings could include:


= A selection of Darling cured meats coupled with Hilda's Indian apple and raison relish. With fruitiness undergirded by balance and length, Groote Post’s Chenin Blanc is a faithful complement;

= Wasabi pancakes, with smoked trout, best enjoyed with the tangy, lime-spiked flavours of the Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc;

= Tomato, goat’s cheese and poppy-seed tarts, an ideal counterpart to the full-palate of Groote Post Kapokberg Sauvignon Blanc;

= Wild mushroom and potato tarts and the fresh loveliness of the Groote Post Unwooded Chardonnay create an ideal synergy.

Main Course

= Grilled chicken with butter bean purée and pan-fried chorizo with roasted red peppers, best paired with the vibrant Groote Post Unwooded Chardonnay;

= Sticky pork with spicy Asian slaw, for which an ideal counterpart is the Groote Post Riesling, beautifully complementing the sweet and sour ensemble;

= Lemon chicken and marinated artichoke pasta, best complemented by the fullness of the Groote Post Kapokberg Sauvignon Blanc;

= Spring lamb with a pea salsa verde, perfectly paired with the elegance of the Groote Post Kapokberg Pinot Noir.

For dessert, in addition to Hilda’s seasonal fruit tarts, Hilda’s Kitchen offers patrons delicious treats like buttermilk tart coupled with toasted coconut ice cream and drizzled with granadilla coulis, or a white chocolate cheesecake, all best enjoyed with the Groote Post Riesling.

At Hilda’s Kitchen, Groote Post’s superb range of wines is available at cellar door prices. And there is always at least one ‘kiddie’s meal’ on the menu.

Hilda's Kitchen is the only restaurant to be nominated in more than one category in its region in the 2013 Eat Out guide. The categories are Best Bistro and Best Country Style. This is the fourth year in a row that this restaurant has been nominated in the Best Country Style category.

Hildagonda Duckitt

The sixth sibling of ten, Hildagonda Duckitt was born and raised at Groote Post over a-century-and-a-half ago. Her father was a member of the first Cape Parliament, and consequently numerous high society receptions were hosted at Groote Post. Hildagonda’s celebrated success as a charismatic hostess at these illustrious affairs prompted her to write and publish two books: ‘Hilda’s Where is it of Recipes’ and ‘Hilda’s Diary of a Cape Housekeeper’. These two titles became household names in Victorian England and are presently highly sought-after Africana. Both of these cherished historical manuscripts contain not only Hilda’s treasury of Cape Cuisine at the time, but also delightful cameos of Victorian life. Groote Post can also lay claim to international horticultural associations through Nemesia Strumosa, the seeds of which were sent by Hildagonda Duckitt to the English nurserymen of Suttons who marketed and developed Nemesia into one of today’s most popular bedding varieties. In her Diary, Hilda writes about Groote Post with great affection and evocative nostalgia, referring to the farmstead as her ‘dear old home’, describing the farm as ‘admirably situated …. with a panorama of five hills, on the middle one of which, Capoc Berg ….. is a beacon erected by Sir Thomas Maclear, the then Atronomer Royal …. Standing on that hill one gets a lovely view of the country for almost a hundred miles around’.

Groote Post Farm Drives

The recent addition of a Farm Drive in the winery’s bona fide game vehicle affords visitors the opportunity to take in the splendour of their 2000-hectare game camp. Visitors can spot the game to which Groote Post is home, namely: Eland, Kudu, Gemsbok, Bontebok, Springbok, Red Hartebeest, Ostrich, Black Wildebeest as well as Quaggas. For those more inclined towards flora than fauna, one will appreciate the farm’s conservation of natural vegetation, including the highly endangered Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Atlantis Sand Fynbos. The Groote Post Renosterveld makes up 4.7% of South Africa’s total area under this type of vegetation. The drive continues through the Groote Post vineyards - including a breathtaking view of Table Mountain from the top vineyard on the Kapokberg – and, of course, to complement the experience, a glass of wine (and other refreshments) is a pre-requisite as you soak up the glory of nature.

A visit to Groote Post

Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the historic Groote Post farm presents a rustic and rural atmosphere with undulating hills, vast open spaces and warm country hospitality.

In addition to a wide range of award-winning wines, Hilda’s Kitchen’s superb culinary experience and Farm Drives through the private game camp and vineyards, Groote Post also offers:

= Cheese platters at the cellar;

= Picnics in summer (to be ordered a full day in advance from the cellar);

= A child-friendly area with a jungle gym and rolling lawns;

= Spectacular views of the Atlantic coast and Table Mountain;

= Nature walks and bird-watching in the hide

Being part of the famous West Coast spring flower route and a member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, Groote Post also holds much appeal for environmentalists.

Bring the whole family and soak up the rich heritage, inimitable rustic charm and country hospitality synonymous with this family estate.

Opening hours and bookings

Groote Post is one of the few wine cellars, let alone wineries with restaurants, open on Sundays in the Darling district and surrounding wine routes.

Hilda’s Kitchen

Open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday (Booking essential).

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Wine-tasting and sales

Open Monday to Friday: 08h00 - 17h00.

Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10h00 - 16h00.

Farm Drives

Monday to Sunday starting at 10h00.

Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance.

Cost: R120 per adult and R50 for children under 12.

Minimum number 6 and maximum number 10 people.

Groote Post closed

Easter Friday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day


Tel: 022 492 2825 = Email: