Ataraxia Wine Estate
One of the most spectacular sites in the entire wine world
A relative newcomer to the South African wine industry, Ataraxia is the product of the husband and wife team of Kevin and Hanli Grant. The estate comprises 50 hectares (some 123 acres) of prime vineyard land in one of the country’s most elevated growing areas.
Founded in 2004, Ataraxia is one of the successful new-wave wineries that dot the country and provide the emphasis for South Africa’s resurgence within the world’s top wine producing countries. The Ataraxia vineyards contain fourteen different soil deposits that are among the oldest on Earth, and contain sandstone, granite and shale, all beneficial to the growing of superior vineyards and grapes. Currently, some 12 hectares (about 30 acres) are planted in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, a number that will be doubled in the not too distant future by the winery.
The Ataraxia Estate’s tasting room occupies one of the most spectacular sites in the entire wine world and is a must see for any interested wine devotee. The location near South Africa’s southernmost tip, Cape Agulhas, offers spectacular views of the primitive South Atlantic Ocean at its scenic best.
Reading a South African Wine Label
South African wine labels tend to be very similar in style to those in the United States, defining the geographic origin of the wine grapes but not designating quality control levels as European countries do.
In 1973, South Africa implemented their own Wine of Origin (WO) system which defined about 60 appellations with a hierarchy of allowed production regions and subregions. This unique classification system is important in South Africa because there are fairly dramatic variations in terroir within small geographic areas and it allows producers to define exactly where the wine’s grapes originated from. The other elements on the wine label (vintage, producer name, wine varietal/type, and country of origin) are fairly straightforward in presentation.
Hemel-en-Aarde (heaven and earth) lies within the well-respected Walker Bay Appellation, South Africa’s southernmost growing region. Its physical location, on a commanding rise beneath the soaring Babylons Toren Mountain Range, offers a natural growing environment, with frost-free, soft, beneficial weather and the most perfect clay shale vineyard soils.
It also enjoys balanced rainfall and a mild climate that results from its closeness to the icy South Atlantic Ocean. It is home to a growing number of new-wave wineries seeking specific micro-climatization for their vineyards. The Pinot Noir grape has been particularly successful in the Hemel-en-Aarde growing area and has given it much of its current reputation.
The Flag of South Africa
Although the colors of the South African flag do not have any official symbolism, the horizontal Y that splits the flag in half stands for the “convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity,” according to official South African government information.
The black, yellow, and green colors are found on the African flag, while the red, white, and blue colors are found in the flags of the Netherlands and the UK, whose settlers ruled South Africa during the colonial era. This current flag was adopted by the Republic of South Africa on April 27, 1994 to represent the new democracy.
Kevin Grant - Winemaker
Acknowledged as one of South Africa’s top winemakers, Grant graduated from the University of Pretoria with an Honours degree in Zoology.
He attained a diploma in cellar technology in 1990 from prestigious Elsenburg Agricultural and has worked at high caliber wineries in France, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand.