The rich legacy of Linton Park Wine Estate

The captivating history of Linton Park Wine Estate, located outside the quaint rural town of Wellington some 60km from Cape Town in South A...

The captivating history of Linton Park Wine Estate, located outside the quaint rural town of Wellington some 60km from Cape Town in South Africa, has thus far been described by some as the ‘undiscovered gem of the Cape Winelands’.

Linton Park Estate 'undiscovered gem of the Cape Wineland
The rich tapestry of the heritage of this picturesque estate at the foot of the Groenberg Mountains dates back to 1699 when Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel granted De Slange Rivier farm to Louis Fourie, a French Huguenot. The deed, dated 28 February 1699, has been preserved and forms part of the Manor House’s art and antique furniture collection. Fourie not only developed the farm’s agricultural landscape but planted vineyards and his pioneering winemaking in Wellington was highly regarded. Not unlike numerous other wine farms in South Africa that trace their history to Huguenot founders, Linton Park has a proud and honourable birthright.

Restoration of the Manor House’s interior and exterior was undertaken in 1995 when Camellia Plc bought the property.
A new beginning in 1995

Camellia Plc that purchased Linton Park in 1995 is a multinational and global business group, listed on the London Stock Exchange. The group employs almost 80 000 people worldwide. Camellia's interests include tea gardens, macadamia, citrus, barley, pineapple, almond and avocado plantations in the agriculture and horticulture sectors, financial services, food storage and distribution and engineering.

The Estate’s Vineyards 


The estate has 37 vineyard blocks, 27 that are currently planted, ranging in altitude from 200 to over 550 meters. The variety of soils includes the predominant ones being Oakleaf and deep Tukulu through to fertile Clovelly. An extensive replanting programme of approximately 6 hectares per year is currently pursued. A total of 70ha of the estate’s entire 294ha is currently planted to vine with a five-year plan of reaching 100ha. This will include new plantings of interesting new varietals i.e. Grenache Noir, Petit Shiraz, Carignan, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Marsanne. The estate will however not neglect its popular Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon as more of these varietals are needed to supply for an ever increasing demand for these two stalwarts. The vines are all grafted rootstock and are planted as trellised and bush vine. Integrated Production of Wine practices are adhered to and Linton Park is WIETA certified. FSSC certification is the next accreditation to be completed.

  
The estate has 37 vineyard block, 27 that are currently planted
A comprehensive eradication programme of alien tree species is in place and whilst this is a long-term project, an increase of water run-off into our dams is already being witnessed.

The gradient of the slopes affords the vineyards longer sunlight hours that in turn results in optimal ripeness at harvest. Farming is done in harmony with nature using proven biological principles to reduce dependence on chemical sprays.

The Cellar

Our winemaking facilities are housed in a building that was originally constructed in 1921, and within the Cellar original cement tanks dating back to 1925 are found.

Since the farm’s purchase by Camellia Plc in 1995, an extensive restoration plan of more than 20 years commenced, including a cellar expansion project that entailed that the cement tanks were converted into open top fermenters. This project was completed in 2017 and - complemented by the installation of other modern wine-crafting technology - not only increased the cellar’s capacity but also modernised the cellar considerably whilst preserving a part of our legacy.

The estate’s winemaking team values that quality wines begin in the vineyard and as such practice minimal intervention techniques to maintain the fruit expression of the grape varietals.

  
The vineyards on the estate range from 200 to over 550 meters in altitude
Caring for the Environment and People

Herman le Roux, Commercial Director, stressed the importance of Linton Park’s philosophy regarding caring for the environment and its people. He elaborated:

“The eradication of alien trees and in particular the blue gum is being conducted responsibly to prevent soil erosion yet ensuring the total suppression of any possible regrowth. Given that bees use these trees as forage plants, we work in close cooperation with bee experts to acknowledge the vital role of bees in the food chain and sensitive eco-systems.

Wastewater from the Cellar is recycled and filtered in a newly installed water treatment plant, improving the quality of the wastewater that it can be utilised as irrigation water.

The estate has also successfully installed a solar power plant which enables the cellar to operate mainly from solar power. This project is testimony of the commitment to the Camellia Group’s carbon reduction target, aiming to reduce carbon footprint by 15% over the next 5 years.

Another ongoing conservation project on the estate is Linton Park hosting and taking care of approximately 2% of the world’s rare and threatened ‘Renosterveld’.

  
Linton Park's Commercial Director, Herman Le Roux
Le Roux explained:

“Through our commitment to the environment and nature conservation with this rare eco-sensitive and threatened piece of land, we have certain essential measures in place to ensure its ongoing maintenance and sustainability. Consequently, we can prevent invasive plants and other elements that could extinguish this precious piece of cultural heritage, which was often the case elsewhere. One of the most important preventative measures is that every 15 years this ‘Renosterveld’ should undergo a controlled ecological burn in autumn as the best time of year to stimulate new growth of rare plant species. This was recently done in April 2018 in cooperation and under the supervision of Cape Nature, the Winelands District Municipality, the Western Cape Department of Forestry and local experts in the burning of our ecological sensitive areas."
  
A controlled ecological burn was done on the estate in April 2018 to stimulate new growth of rare plant species

 Herman Le Roux concluded: “Our holding company, Camellia Plc, mandates that we see ourselves as custodians holding and developing our business for future generations. 

We are committed to the ultimate welfare of our employees, including housing and also to the communities in which they live. And to this end, we are engaged in several socially responsible upliftment programmes, green and sustainable farming and cellar management that ensure that the environment and our people are taken care of and respected.


For more information visit Linton Park’s website at www.lintonparkwines.co.za or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/lintonparkwines.

Linton Park social media handle: @lintonparkwines





Issued by: HATCH COMMUNICATION
Pictures: SUPPLIED 




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