| SA Wine Ratings, News, Opinion & Analysis

David Cope: Interview with Craig Hawkins

Craig Hawkins has made a name for himself as the biggest advocate of natural wine in South Africa. Together with significant other Carla Kretzel, he’s recently left Swartland winery Lammershoek to pursue his Testalonga brand of wines full time. Here’s a quick catch-up with the man behind some of the most interesting wines made in [...]

February 13, 2015
by David Cope
with 0 Comments

Tim James: On wine additives

Craig Hawkins has a great (and often quirky) sense of humour, but when he chose “Made from grapes” as the motto of his Testalonga wine-brand, he wasn’t joking. What he really means is “…and ONLY grapes” – though, bringing a touch of pragmatism to his idealism, he will add a judicious touch of preserving sulphur [...]

December 16, 2014
by Tim James
with 3 Comments

Testalonga El Bandito 2014

Craig Hawkins pretty much eschews the label “natural wines” for the stuff he makes under the Testalonga El Bandito label as he feels that the term is too mired in controversy but he’s South Africa’s leading proponent of the “nothing added, nothing taken away” approach to winemaking and the results are compelling. “I want my [...]

December 4, 2014
by Christian Eedes
with 3 Comments

Testalonga El Bandito Cortez 2013

If you’re going to embrace “natural wine”, then it does involve some recalibration of the palate to accept smells and tastes that previously you might have been rejected. Lammershoek winemaker Craig Hawkins who makes natural wines under his own El Bandito label is adamant that he doesn’t want them scored on the basis that they [...]

August 13, 2014
by Christian
with 1 Comment

CellarFoot The Straw 2010

Nothing that Lammershoek winemaker Craig Hawkins does is remotely mainstream but CellarFoot is the label he uses to designate the wines which he feels really push the boundaries. The three stand-out wines for me are the following: CellarFoot Härslevelü 2013 Approximate retail price: R247 A subtle floral note on the nose. Nothing overt on the [...]

July 7, 2014
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Lammershoek Syrah 2012

Craig Hawkins arrived as winemaker at Lammershoek in the Swartland at the end of 2009 with a view to making “natural wines” – no cultured yeasts, no new oak and absolutely minimal amounts of sulphur allowed. I visited Hawkins for the first time in three years on Friday and if I liked his initial efforts, [...]

March 10, 2014
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Scali Blanc 2009

The randomness of Twitter. “ Scali Blanc 2009 – a bit too odd for it’s (sic) own good? Distinctive and characterful, but a bit wild for me. Like sherry + new oak”, tweeted Richard Hemming this past Friday. Now Hemming is a wine writer on and a MW student and I picked up on [...]

January 28, 2013
by Christian
with 5 Comments

Patapon 2009

Over the weekend such natural wines as Domaine le Briseau Patapon Coteaux du Loir 2009. From the Pineau d’Aunis variety, it was rustic, dirty even, but wonderfully so. Craig Hawkins of Lammershoek in the Swartland in South Africa and his Testalonga El Bandito 2009, Testalonga El Bandito Cortex 2011 and Cellar Foot Harslevelu 2010 also [...]

January 21, 2013
by Christian
with 5 Comments
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