Winemaker finds her feet with Sauvignon Blanc

It was a big move from Stellenbosch, the heart of the South African wine industry, with friends, fellow winemakers and advice from many consultants close at hand to the isolated Kleinriver Ward near Stanford on South Africa's south coast for Raka winemaker, Danelle van Rensburg.

She was appointed winemaker at Raka, the only producing wine cellar in the Kleinriver ward, in January this year - just in time for the 2006 harvest. Although she was thrown in at the deep end she seemed to have found her feet quite easily. Already the first of the wines she made at Raka has won an award. The Raka Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (W.O. Kleinriver) won the regional award for best Sauvignon Blanc in the Walker Bay and Overberg districts, which includes Elgin, Kleinriver and the Agulhas ward.

Owner Piet Dreyer is over the moon: ”The Akkedisberg Pass separates the Kleinriver Ward from Walker Bay, but it does not keep out the afternoon sea breezes and the Sauvignon Blanc thrives. The Raka Sauvignon Blanc 2004 was the first wine to be certified W.O. Kleinriver and even though our vines were very young then, already one could taste a great Sauvignon Blanc in the making. That it would one day win top honours in a competition against the other prestigious Sauvignon Blanc producing wards of our region, like Elgin and Agulhas, one could only dream. I am very proud!”

Humble as always, Danelle is more reserved in her comments: “I am very proud and feel honoured to be part of the award-winning team at Raka. I couldn’t have done it without Piet and the team. The fruit was excellent and we knew from the beginning that the wine is special. We used different yeasts and really concentrated on this wine. The wine has lovely tropical fruit aromas with a vibrant, young and fresh aftertaste.”