PODCAST | The Check-In: Did you know there's a wine cellar tunnel beneath one of Cape Town's busy highways?

2019-12-23 11:39
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In the latest episode of the Check-In, South African Winemakers Elunda Basson from Steenberg and  Roger Burton of Constantia Royal share all there is to do in their part of the Constantia Valley.

The Steenberg Vineyards with its newly renovated restaurant Tryn to its five-star hotel and spa - encapsulates an exuberant escape in the Constantia Valley. Its accomplished winemaker and specialist of her craft, Elunda joined Steenberg Vineyards in June 2019 at the pinnacle of an illustrious career spanning over two decades making still and sparkling wines for leaders in the South African wine  industry. 

Elunda says she cherishes the opportunity of working in the oldest wine appellation of the New World and has set her sights on securing Steenberg’s rightful place as a producer of top tier Sauvignon Blanc. Her experience as a red winemaker early on in her career also holds her in good stead for making Steenberg signature reds.

Elunda, who studied viticulture and oenology at the University of Stellenbosch and Elsenburg Agricultural College, has garnered a slew of awards over the years. The 2018 Vertex award, when her Blanc de Blancs was named overall champion wine at Veritas, the Oscar’s of the South African wine industry, stands out at one of her career highlights. Other achievements include the World’s Best Shiraz trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and making the cut in the Top 10 Sparkling Wines of the World at Effervescent du Monde.

She is vice-chairperson of the South African Cap Classique Association, well-travelled in the major wine producing regions of the world, and a sought-after wine judge serving on panels for the IWSC, Veritas and Cap Classique Challenge.

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In the 1960s the owners of Constantia Royale decided to make the most of the news that a highway would be built through the middle of their farm - with a tunnel built initially to allow tractors to pass between the two sides of the farm. 

The Estate's winemaker Roger shares how it has since been blocked up on one side to house some of its best wines - and also doubling up as a unique function venue.

His wine-making background has seen him graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in 1999 with a B.Sc Agriculture Viticulture & Enology. He then travelled to South Australia and Germany to gain some more experience. He started his South African career at the beautiful Buitenverwachting in 2001 where he spent four years. It has since come full circle back to Constantia Royale, after a few years in the Piekenierskloof.

His style of winemaking aims to best express the terroir, but with the goal of making a wine that is very drinkable. He now lives in Cape Town with his wife and 2 dogs, and consults to several farms in the Western Cape. When not making wine he enjoys surfing, reading, and escaping to the mountains.

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