06 September 2013

Black Elephant Vintners

Black Elephant Vintners logo

2013 Pinotage Top 10 winner ‘Back Road’ 2012 Pinotage comes from a winery, Black Elephant Vintners, that I’d not previously heard of.  Not surprising since it only came into being in January 2013, founded by Franschhoek based financiers Kevin Swart and Raymond Ndlovu.

It’s a tremendous achievement for a brand new winery to leap into Pinotage stardom with their maiden vintage, but they do have the benefit of a winemaker with form.  

Winemaker/viticulturist is Jacques Wentzel, whom I met when he was cellar-master at Schalk Burger’s Welbedacht winery. While there Jacques crafted their 2009 Meerkat Pinotage which was a Top 10 winner in 2011.

Hand-picked grapes for The Back Roads Pinotage 2012 came from a single vineyard of old vine Pinotage growing in “Die Perskoen” ward of Wellington.  Uncrushed grapes with 15% whole bunches fermented spontaneously and aged for 15 months in used (5 - 8 year old) French oak barrels. Full details of the winemaking process and technical information is on the website www.bevintners.co.za which went live this week.

I look forward to tasting Black Elephant’s wines in the future, and congratulations again to Jacques and the Black Elephant team.



  1. Riaan Rossouw01:50

    ''Die Perdeskoen'' ward ,translation=horseshoe ,it makes a loop in the shape of a horseshoe +- 10km circle on the outskirts of Wellington at the base of the Hawekwa mountains.

  2. Thanks for the info, Riaan.