On Audacia we create a range of distinctive red wines. Most of our portfolio includes single cultivar wines and red blends made in the traditional manner, but since 2011 we have experimented with innovative new techniques involving indigenous ‘fynbos’ wood. 2014 saw the launch of our first wines made according to this breakthrough patented process.
Antioxidant Rooibos/Honeybush Wood preserved Wines
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi – Out of Africa, always something new.
In 2014 Audacia launched the world’s first – “No Sulphites or Preservatives Added” red wine created by using indigenous Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos) and Cyclopia genistoides (Honeybush) toasted wood chips. The wine, a merlot from the 2013 harvest, became the first of an exciting range of ‘healthier option’ wines made according to this method – which is exclusive and patented to www.reddawnip.co.za. This technology is now available to all South African wine producers. The technology remains exclusive to South African wine producers.
South African indigenous wood added wine is the creation of a totally new and unique class of wine, not to be confused with wine made using imported traditional oak wood derivatives (oak staves, chips, powders and tannin extracts), because now we can use our own indigenous wood in a similar manner. The discovery that the use of Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos) and Cyclopia genistoides (Honeybush) toasted wood chips in the wine making process assists to preserve and flavour wine, thus providing wine drinkers with a unique tasting and no sulphites added alternative, has enabled Audacia to substantially raise the bar in local winemaking.
1659 – Jan Van Riebeeck, the first Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, had an audacious plan to grow vines and produce wine in the Cape. His dream became a reality when he imported vine cuttings from Europe; on the 2nd of February 1659, he recorded in his journal how the first Cape wine was made.
1772 – Carl Thunberg, a Swedish naturalist visiting South Africa, noted that the local people from the Cederberg region in the Western Cape were making tea from the leaves of an indigenous plant. The Dutch settlers in the Cape embraced this tea, which became known as ‘Rooibos’. It served as a welcome alternative to black tea, which at the time was an expensive commodity for settlers who had to rely on supply ships to bring them black tea from Europe. Rooibos tea has since grown in popularity, both within South Africa and throughout the rest of the world.
2011– 352 years after Jan van Riebeeck first planted vines at the Cape and 239 years after Carl Thunberg observed local indigenous people making tea from Rooibos leaves, Trevor Strydom (proprietor of Audacia Wines), was challenged by his Audacia partner, Paul Harris, to find a ‘Blue Ocean’ opportunity in the wine industry – meaning they explore unchartered territory and find an innovative means to create a distinctive red wine with a truly indigenous twist.
This challenge led to an extensive search to find a local alternative to imported oak wood products (chips, staves, powder and liquid tannin extracts) used in the winemaking process. After many months, the search was concluded when Trevor’s daughter, Sarah–Jane, offered him a cup of invigorating Rooibos tea after a hard day in the cellar. This was Trevor’s “eureka” moment, and by using the chipped and toasted wood of the plant instead of oak wood chips allowed this dream to become reality and a global gamechanger.
The wood used in making the ‘No Sulphites or Preservatives Added’ wine comes from indigenous Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos) and Cyclopia genistoides (Honeybush) plants growing in the Western Cape of South Africa. They are part of the endemic fynbos family of which the Cape Floral Kingdom – A Unesco World Heritage Site and the world’s smallest, but richest plant biome – is comprised. It is important to note that only chipped toasted wood is used in the wine making process. No rooibos or honeybush plant leaves are used in the wine making process, only the toasted chipped wood of the plants. The process is exactly the same as when using oak wood chips.
The indigenous wood is unique in that it has high levels of antioxidants, no caffeine and low tannin levels when compared to other wood sources used in winemaking. It also contains a number of phenolic compounds and many flavonoids. Both wood types impart unique and distinctive flavours to red wine, including a tobacco–like smokiness, hints of vanilla, cherry and black pepper.
Audacia also uses oak barrels and ‘alternative’ oak derived products, such as chips, staves, powder and liquid tannin extracts (currently widely used in the making of South African wines) as a means of flavouring both traditional and non-traditional wines in our range.
It is interesting to note that other woods and wood derivatives used in global winemaking include Acacia, Chestnut, Rauli, Pine, Redwood, Apple & Cherry woods along with exotic woods like Tara and Quebracho. The Greek wine, Retsina, is made using pine resin to flavour it.Preservation
The chief antioxidant (preservative) normally used in wine production is sulphur dioxide. The legal limit of total sulphur dioxide allowed in South African table wines is 150 mg/L, with a lower limit being 10mg/L, below which the wine can to be labeled as ‘Sulphur Free’ or ‘No Sulphites or Preservatives Added’. There has been a drive in recent years to lower sulphur dioxide levels in wine due to health reasons, since many people have an allergic reaction to the sulphur.
The Fabaceae family species, Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos) and Cyclopia genistoides (Honeybush) is indigenous to the Western Cape of South Africa and have been proven to contain large amounts of phenolic compounds, such as quercetin, luteolin, orientin, iso–orientin, vitexin, iso–vitexin and aspalathin, which may act as antioxidants and assist in preserving wine.
Audacia Wines worked closely with a team from Stellenbosch University’s Department of Viticulture and Oenology, headed by Professor Wessel Du Toit(who is investigating oxidation in wine as part of his research portfolio) during the initial stages of research in 2011 and 2012.
Research into the use of Aspalathus Linearis and Cyclopia Genistoides chipped and toasted wood as an alternative to imported oak chipped and toastedwood derivative products began in earnest in May 2011. The first ‘test case’ wine was made during the 2012 harvest, and the first Merlot 2013 ‘No Sulphites or Preservatives Added’ wine was created from grapes harvested during 2013.
Michael van Niekerk, the Audacia cellarmaster instrumental in pioneering the new winemaking process on Audacia, says: ‘The launch of this new class of wine allows people who are allergic to Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), or other preservatives often used in winemaking, to enjoy a glass of wine without the normal side effects associated with sulphite preservatives.’
The new process grants Van Niekerk the freedom of expression to make highly distinctive and uniquely South African wines, unlike anything else currently available on the global wine stage.
A product related beverage patent has been registered by Red Dawn (IP) Holdings to protect the innovation on a worldwide basis, see www.reddawnip.co.za for patent details.
Audacia is 32 hectares in size, with 20 hectares under vine. The vineyards can be found on predominantly south–facing slopes, ideal for cultivation since they are cooler than north–facing ones. These slopes vary from being as steep as 20% to almost 0% on the wide alluvial terraces. The defining feature of the farm is the Bonte River which created the valley and forms Audacia's southern boundary. A comprehensive replanting programme began in 2000. Five years later, the first wines, made exclusively from Audacia grapes, were vinified.
Malbec is a variety of grape used for making red wine. The grapes tend to have an inky dark colour and robust tannins. Long known as one of the six grapes allowed to be used in the blend of red Bordeaux wines. French plantings of Malbec are found primarily in Cahors in the southwest region of France. It has been cultivated extensively under the name Côt in the Loire Valley as well as in the Midi region since the 1700s. Malbec blends well with Cabernet Sauvignon because of its soft tannins and well–defined fruitiness. Malbec promises to be one of a range of high quality cultivars grown in South Africa as it has adapted well to local conditions. In South Africa, Malbec wines are unique in aroma and taste and works equally well as a cultivar wine, or blended with other red wine cultivars.
Petit Verdot is a variety of red wine grape of French origin where it has been grown in the Medoc region for many years and is principally used in classic Bordeaux blends. The wine shows good colour and is rich in tannins with very good ageing potential. Petit Verdot is blended with other wines in small amounts to add tannin, colour and flavour to the blend. It is also useful in ‘stiffening’ the mid palate of Cabernet Sauvignon blends.
This cultivar is of French origin where it has been grown in the Côte de Rhône since the Roman period. Syrah (as it is called in its country of origin) is a dark–skinned grape variety. Syrah is grown in many countries and is primarily used to produce powerful red wines, which enjoy great popularity in the marketplace under the synonym, “Shiraz”.
Cabernet Franc is one of the major varieties of red wine grape grown in Bordeaux. It is mostly grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but is also vinified alone. The wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes resembles that of Cabernet Sauvignon but is softer and consumable at an earlier age. Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and the style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, and cassis, or sometimes violets.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most famous and widely recognised red wine grape varieties. It is grown in most major wine producing countries. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognised first through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Merlot – (pronounced: MERL–oh) is a red wine grape that is used in blends and as a varietal wine. Merlot–based wines usually have medium body with hints of berries, plums, and currants. Its softness and “fleshiness,” combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot an ideal grape to blend with the sterner, later–ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.
Roobernet is a grape cultivar that was hybridised by Professor Orffer from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. This cultivar was released for commercial production in 1990. It is a cross between Pontac and Cabernet Sauvignon, hence the red juice of the grapes (also found in Pontac). The wine characteristics resemble that of Cabernet Sauvignon.
A range of soils can be found on Audacia, as documented by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's extensive soil survey conducted around the time of the replanting. The major types are Estcourt, Tukulu and Dundee / Westleigh, all of which have excellent water retaining capacity which is vital in view of global warming predictions. Gone are the days when South African wine farmers would scorn colleagues 'anderkant die berg' (on the other side of the mountain) in warmer regions who were forced to irrigate their vines. Irrigation has become crucial to most modern wine farming operations to prevent excessive stress for the vine.
All Audacia vineyards were equipped with supplemental drip irrigation when the new vineyards were established with water supplied from the Theewaterskloof dam. The farm's own dam (filled by the Bonte River) is not just for the ducks which waddle around Audacia, but also provides water for irrigation and general farm use.
As the crow flies, Audacia is 20km from the cool waters of False Bay and lies at between 80m and 120m above sea level. This is relevant because of the influence of cool air moving inland from the cool ocean. These breezes are essential for cooling during South Africa's hot summers when it's vital that the grape vines don't get too hot and shut down photosynthesis. Think of it as natural air conditioning! Being located in a gentle valley is highly advantageous as Audacia is thus protected from strong storm winds which could potentially damage the vines at crucial stages of their growth.
Winter temperatures range between 4C and 15C while in summer the mercury rises to between 19C and a maximum of 36C.
The average rainfall is around 750mm, ample for Audacia's grape growing requirements – with supplemental irrigation used only when needed.
Audacia subscribes to the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) and is both registered and authorised by The Wine and Spirit Board as an accredited IPW producer. This programme entails the use of the latest information and technology to track all aspects of production – both in the vineyard and cellar – in order to guarantee environmentally friendly practices. This ensures the protection of non–renewable natural resources and the environment in order to promote man's future health and wellbeing while
For more information please click on this link: http://www.swsa.co.za/