| SA Wine Ratings, News, Opinion & Analysis

Testalonga El Bandito King of Grapes 2015

Can Craig and Carla Hawkins be contained? Subsequent to their departure from Lammershoek, the Testalonga range of wines has grown to 11 and they remain some of the most rock ‘n roll stuff around. The 2015 vintage of King of Grapes (Wine Cellar price: R230 a bottle) is exquisite. From Grenache, it shows red fruit, spice […]

December 23, 2015
by Christian
with 0 Comments

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 Testalonga label is adamant that he doesn’t want them scored on the basis that they sit […]

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
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  • February 12, 2016The 2016 AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction
  • February 25, 2016Wine Label Design Awards 2016
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