In 2006, the Entwistles purchased the 45 Ha farm in the historic Bovlei valley, ten minutes from the town of Wellington, and under an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
The farm was initially proclaimed in 1699 and the Entwistles are only the sixth family since then to hold title. Sadly the farm had been in a steady decline for many years and the Entwistles arrived to a semi-derelict fruit farm with tremendous soil potential, deep cultural significance and outstanding panoramic views. The Entwistles christened the farm Val du Charron as a tribute to this rich background – Val du Charron or Valley of the Wagon maker was the original name of the Wellington valley. The French influence stems from the Huguenots who settled in the area in the early 1700’s while the reference to wagon making refers to the fact that Wellington was the last town where the Afrikaner’s ox wagons could be serviced before heading over the majestic Bainskloof in to the then unknown hinterland.
Thus began a five year rehabilitation of the historical buildings, planting of the vineyards and olive groves and finally the re-establishment of the wine making tradition on the farm. Stuart Entwistle fortunately had over 25 years of experience in property development that enabled them to do this. In 2012, Val du Charron itself became an Estate label i.e. all wines under the Val du Charron labels are bottled, produced and come from vines grown on the farm itself; thus giving a pure expression of the terroir to be found on Val du Charron’s southerly facing slopes.
|Hectares under vine||21.3|
|Number of varietals||16|
|Main plantings||Shiraz, Chardonnay|
|Cellar capacity||400 ton|
|Red & White Varietal Split||60% red | 40% white|
|Val du Charron Reserve Collection||Chardonnay
|Theatre of Wine||Four White Legs
Val du Charron is one of the most beautiful farms against the hills in the Bovlei valley. Not only does the sheer beauty blow you away, but also the huge potential of our natural resources ... all the vineyards are on southern facing slopes, rich red soils and a whole bouquet of varietals, 16 to be exact, from Merlot to Touriga Nacional, from thirty year old Chenin blanc to Pinot Gris. Why so many different cultivars?
We strongly believe in blending! We have a continental climate, just like the very well known great wine producing areas of the world - Rhône valley, Dao, Rioja and many others. These different varietals have different, yet very unique qualities and if put together, produces a composition which is more complex, richer, finer, more finessed and more unique than any cultivar on its own.
We frequently quote Fabrice Langlois, winemaker of Chateau Beaucastel and a very good friend: "A blend is much like a symphony orchestra where you have all the various sections ... the crisp woodwinds, the solid brass instruments, the rhythmic percussion and the elegant strings … on their own they are instruments, but together under the hand of the conductor, a symphony."
Val du Charron Wines is privileged to be associated with winemaker, Bertus Fourie. Notable as the man who produced the "Coffee Pinotage"- style for the first time in South Africa, Mr. Starbucks, as he is known, has brought his energy, passion and ideas to Val du Charron.
“The human dimension of the wine industry is definitely one of the aspects that I love. I meet wonderful people, make wonderful friends and enjoy loads of laughs whenever I present a wine tasting or have a wine chat, which is probably 80% of the time. Making wine, selling wine, enjoying wine is all about quality relationships”.
This approach to winemaking and living the wine lifestyle has made Bertus a celebrity in wine circles and this special magic have rubbed off on the Val du Charron Estate range, making it a sought after brand.
Bertus studied at the University of Stellenbosch where he obtained a Masters degree in Oenology before joining Diemersfontein and then KWV as Senior Winemaker. His international harvests include Chateaux Dauphine in Fronsac and St Emilion`s, popular Grand Cru Classe A, Chateaux Cheval Blanc. From KWV he was appointed managing director of Val de Vie.
His numerous achievements include the 2003 Gold International Wine Challenge and Veritas Gold – Diemersfontein Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, 2003 Fairbairn Trophy – Carpe Diem Pinotage 2002, and Michelangelo International Trophies – Diemersfontein Pinotage 2003, Woolworths Winemaker of the Year 2003, 2007 Decanter Award: Best South African White Wine above $9.99, 2009 Syrah du Monde Gold – KWV Mentors Shiraz 2006 and 2009 IWSC –Gold and Class winner Val du Vie Shiraz 2007.