| SA Wine Ratings, News, Opinion & Analysis

Michael Fridjhon: How to fix Merlot

In the 1960s European and American electricity providers replaced coal-fired power stations with “clean” nuclear facilities. Fifty years later, the swing of the pendulum has made atomic the dirtiest source in town. Addressing the WineLand seminar in late July, the Wine Cellar’s Roland Peens exhorted the industry to grub up its merlot vineyards and replace [...]

August 24, 2015
by Michael Fridjhon
with 4 Comments

On Merlot in SA

Yesterday a discussion on Merlot in SA facilitated by the South African Sommelier Association and led by renowned winemaker Zelma Long and wine-growing partner Dr Phil Freese, who are  co-owners along with Warwick’s Mike Ratcliffe of Vilafonté in Paarl. Long began by saying that South Africa has a “treasure house” of terroir and hence there [...]

February 3, 2015
by Christian Eedes
with 0 Comments

Tim James: On American investment in the South African wine industry

The release of the excellent new Capensis Chardonnay, and concomitant talk about the purchase of a Stellenbosch wine farm by the US company Jackson Family Wines, prompted thoughts of the extent of the American investment in Cape wine since 1994. The influx of star-spangled dollars – and star-spangled wine-people – has been greater than is [...]

January 26, 2015
by Christian Eedes
with 0 Comments

Vilafonté Series C 2003 – 2012

Phil Freese, leading US viticulturist and co-owner along with winemaker wife Zelma Long and Warwick’s Mike Ratcliffe of Paarl property Vilafonté, says his aim has always been to adapt the vineyards to the site instead of pushing them into something they don’t want to be. The first plantings on Vilafonté were done in 1997 and [...]

November 7, 2014
by Christian Eedes
with 5 Comments

Vilafonté to expand plantings

A fascinating morning spent in the Paarl vineyards of Vilafonté with Dr Phil Freese, preeminent viticulturist and co-owner of the venture. 120 days from flowering to picking and each flower (which in turn become a berry) a “timer”, Freese wanting these timers to go off at  the same time to ensure uniform ripeness.   Berries [...]

November 11, 2013
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Vilafonté Series C 2010

Man shapes the environment but does the environment shape man? Vilafonté is the joint venture between Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick in Stellenbosch and eminent US wine personalities Phil Freese and Zelma Long. First bottling was 2003 and I’ve struggled with the wines in the past on account of how premeditated they appear. Technically correct but [...]

December 21, 2012
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Vilafonté Series C 2009

Vilafonté is a joint venture between Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick in Stellenbosch and American husband and wife Phil Freese and Zelma Long, Phil an accomplished viticulturist and Zelma equally skilled as a winemaker. The property is in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward and there are two wines under the Vilafonté label, Series C and Series M. The [...]

July 12, 2012
by Christian
with 0 Comments
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Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 and now lives on in digital form as We cover everything to do with South African wine.
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