South African Christmas

South African Christmas

Roughly an hour and a half's drive South East from Cape Town lies the beautiful nature reserve and vineyard area of Walker Bay where whale watching and wine production go hand in hand. 

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This particular estate is owned and managed by the Newton Johnson family and the farm is based in the upper Hemel en Aarde Valley near the seaside town of Hermanus.

Pinot Noir

From a viticultural standpoint Walker Bay prides itself on its Pinot Noir. The cooling influence of the Southern Atlantic Ocean allows the grapes a long, slow ripening period much like in Burgundy which allows those perfumed wine aromas to develop to their fullest potential. This being South Africa however, there is a noticible emphasis on a bright vibrant red fruit character being at the forefront of the wine. 

Led by Dave, a Cape Wine Master who wrote his thesis on Pinot Noir, and his wife, Felicity (nee Newton), the Newton Johnson family moved to the Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley in 1995, built a cellar and started planting vines shortly thereafter. This enthusiasm for wine and Pinot Noir in particular, was passed on to and eagerly adopted by his sons, Bevan and Gordon. They in turn have taken this family cellar and vineyards to new heights in exploring the nuances of this grape and their vineyards.


The vineyard on which the Chardonnay grapes are grown lies directly opposite the Newton Johnson farm in the valley, a notably cooler slope than the rest of the immediate area which allows for an even slower ripening. It produces wines with compact structure, cool fruit flavours and vibrant, lengthy acidity. Compared with many South African Chardonnays the oak is toned down to give a classy, refined and superbly balanced finish.

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