Vineyards were first planted at Cloof in 1966, with additional plantings in 1976 and 1987. In that time Darling, adjacent to the Swartland, was better known as a wheat farming region. A cellar was completed in time for the 1998 harvest, which allowed the first release of Cloof wines during the course of 1999. Vineyard area was significantly increased, with plantings every year from 1998 to 2000, bringing the total to 145 hectares. The 220 hectares of vineyards at neighbouring Burghers Post are under the same ownership, giving us unparalleled access to (and control over) top quality fruit.
In 2003 Darling was declared a wine region in its own right in recognition of the unique style and quality of wines grown here.
There are easier ways of making wine, but we believe that – under local conditions – bush vines are not only necessary, but also integral to the unique style and quality of Cloof wines.
The prevailing south-easterly wind protects the fruit from rot, and at night cloaks the vineyards in chilly, flavour-preserving air blown in from the Atlantic Ocean. The bush vines provide a canopy which shades the grapes from direct sunlight. The smaller crop results in smaller berries with thicker skins, and much more concentrated flavours.
The roots of our bush vines go up to eight metres deep in search of moisture, making the vines less sensitive to drought (bush vines in any case need less moisture than trellised vines). For this reason it takes approximately five years before we can harvest the first decent-sized crop (and longer to get up to our average production of a mere four tons per hectare – or about 26 hectolitres per hectare. .
Cloof Estate P O Box 269, Darling, 7345, South Africa
Tel: +27 22 492 2839
Fax: +27 22 492 3261