Attie Louw, winemaker at Opstal Wine Estate.

We chat with a cellar each month about their business, what makes them lie awake at night and what gives them hope. “Find the balance and enjoy what you want to do in your vineyards and wines, in line with what the market requires,” says Attie Louw, winemaker at Opstal Wine Estate.

1. Tell us more about Opstal?

Opstal Wine Estate is located in the beautiful Slanghoek Valley and forms part of the Breedekloof wine region. The farm has been in our family since 1847 and my brother Zak and I are the seventh generation on the farm.

We farm a total of 165 ha, of which the majority is under vineyards, along with some peaches, persimmons and apples. We make a variety of wines and styles in different ranges, but our main focus is definitely Chenin Blanc. The Carl Everson wines in our Heritage range are our flagship products.

Opstal’s total sales comprise 60% local sales and 40% exports. Apart from wine sales, we are also very proud of the estate restaurant that my father, Stanley and mother, Ria started in 2004. Opstal Stay is a relatively recent addition to our business, through which we make accommodation available and further expand our tourism offer.

We have 80 permanent employees, many of whom are second and third generation employees on the farm. Our family business’ identity includes this

2. How have you experienced the 2022 season so far?

Our 2022 harvest season has started slowly and patiently, but in the Slanghoek Valley we are used to a long and slow ripening process. We have 70% white cultivars, and we’re definitely seeing our usual freshness. At this point, it seems like the fact that our valley is always so late has at least buffered our vineyards to some extent against the harsh heat waves of January and early February.

3. How do you keep consumers excited about Opstal as a brand and your wines?

We focus very strongly on getting the consumer to visit us at Opstal to make his or her experience as authentic and positive as possible. We believe this is the best way to build a community of loyal Opstal fans.

Apart from that, we keep the website and social media stylish and up to date, blending in a touch of fun and silliness now and again. Among other things, my brother Zak is busy with a “harvest playlist” drive, through which he shares the harvesting activities with our followers on social media, along with music of his or their choice … and he can be quite the performer!

4. Do you have any exciting plans underway?

We planted Grenache Noir in 2021 as a lifted bush vine, which I am very excited about and on which we will focus our attention on further this year. As for 2022, we are still planning on planting new vineyards and expanding our apple division.

5. What is your message to other wine producers?

Find the balance and enjoy what you want to do in your vineyards and wines, in line with what the market requires. At Opstal, that strategy is supported by close family involvement and a diligent and happy team of employees.



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