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Western Cape, South Africa

Western Cape

Capensis celebrates the character of the extreme vineyard sites of South Africa’s Western Cape through the noble white variety, Chardonnay.

South Africa’s Western Cape can be called both the oldest wine region of the New World and the newest wine region of the Old World. Capensis skillfully combines these two facets — the oldest and the newest — of Western Cape winemaking. It embodies the unparalleled quality that comes from old, gnarled vines planted in some of the oldest soils in the world, and it represents the young energy of a new generation of winemakers determined to make world-class wines with state-of-the-art techniques.

Capensis, meaning “from the Cape,” is a leader in bringing South Africa to the forefront as a world-class Chardonnay producer. The commitment to Chardonnay comes from the belief that the truly great vineyard sites around the world are revealed by only a few noble grape varieties.


A 400 year grape-growing history leads to a contemporary renaissance of terroir-driven wines

South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope has long been known as ideal for grape growing. This winemaking history dates back more than three centuries, to the 1600s, when the vineyards supplied wine to Dutch East India Company ships en route to India. In the 1700s and early 1800s, South Africa was known for its Muscat-based Constantia dessert wines, which were coveted throughout Europe. Then came the late 1800s, when the root louse phylloxera obliterated South Africa’s vineyards, as it did vineyards elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, the sites often were replanted with high-production, low-quality grape varieties.

With the end of apartheid in 1994 and the opening of the world export market, South Africa’s remarkable wine-growing potential slowly became better known outside the country. To realize this potential, viticulturists began researching and selecting the best grape varieties for each site’s soils and mesoclimate. In the search for the best Chardonnay sites, the focus of Capensis has been on the Stellenbosch, Overberg, and Robertson regions in the Western Cape. Philosophically, Capensis is not limited to these regions—the only limitation is the quality of the individual vineyard site.


The label design artfully combines four elements indigenous and symbolic of South Africa.

The Springbok is a graceful, distinctively marked antelope that is related to gazelles. It is the national animal of South Africa and is associated with athletics and strength.

The versatile Marula Tree has had many uses over thousands of years: the fruits and nuts as food, the wood for carving, the bark as dye. These deciduous trees are either male or female. The Venda people believed that if a woman consumed an infusion of bark from a male tree, she would give birth to a boy, and if an infusion from a female tree, a girl.

King Protea is the national flower of South Africa and belongs to an ancient plant family, the Proteaceae, which dates back 140 million years. These regal flowers are named after the sea-god Proteus, one of the sons of Poseidon in Greek mythology.

The configuration of the Zulu shield was chosen for the shape of the Capensis label because the shield represents the strength and nobility of South Africa’s historic Zulu and remains an important symbol to this day.

  • Roll over to explore label artwork
  • Spring Bok
  • Marula Tree
  • King Protea

Chardonnay is the most expressive and complex of all the international noble white varieties and its potential is unmatched throughout the world, particularly in South Africa.

The winemaking team gently guides the wine through fermentation and barrel aging. Immediately after hand harvesting, whole clusters are pressed in an enclosed membrane press. After the juice is allowed to settle for 24 to 36 hours, it is inoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented in small French oak barrels or at 65°F in stainless steel tanks.

For the 2013 vintage, 55 percent was fermented in new French oak, with the balance in stainless steel. All the wine is aged on the lees and is hand-stirred monthly throughout 12 months of aging to soften the texture. Winemaker Graham Weerts is

a fervent believer that lees incorporation is a key component to creating Chardonnay with integrity and with the ability to age.

The percentage of Capensis Chardonnay that completes malolactic fermentation depends on the vintage and vineyard characteristics, with the average being 30 to 50 percent for the finished wine. Partial malolactic fermentation adds complexity and rounds some acids. However, these vineyards have such ripe acidity — without tart, green apple character — that the wines are naturally balanced regardless of the level. Gentle fining is used for most lots.

2013 Capensis Chardonnay
technical notes

100% Chardonnay,
Western Cape, South Africa

Primarily 95

55% of blend aged in 100% new French oak for 12 months


White peach, red apple, bosch pear, limestone & granite dust



Tree fruits, firm acidity, hints of vanilla, spice & subtle minerality

Capensis wines are offered in 3-bottle sets,
with limited availability, at $80.00 per bottle.

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Limit two 3-bottle sets per order.

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