Saurwein is Jessica Saurwein’s family surname. Steeped in the history of 17th-century winemaking, her forefathers made “sour” wine for the Emperor of Austria. It became her vocation to redeem her family’s reputation in wine and so after a gap year working locally and internationally in vineyards, she completed a BSc Oenology and Viticulture degree at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Opportunities then led her into the world of Sales and Marketing at first, while she worked in the cellar each year during harvest time both locally and internationally. She found her way back to making wine by starting her own production part-time in 2015. When she had a baby in October 2017 she resigned from her job to become a mother and full-time winemaker for her own brand Saurwein Wines.
Today she focuses on handcrafting her two favourite cultivars, Pinot noir and Riesling, and makes three wines under the Saurwein brand name, two Pinot noirs and one Riesling.
Jessica and her family moved to Waterval farm in the Stanford foothills in August 2021. Waterval is 12 km from the Walker Bay in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. Here, the cool climate and old Cape soils are known for incredibly diverse fynbos species, fine wines and farm produce.
Waterval is Jessica’s biggest childhood dream, combining her passion for wine, horses, fynbos, viticulture with that of regenerative agriculture. Focus is placed on soil health and incorporating animals to help fix carbon into the soils, to create a more diverse soil biology. The large vegetable garden is central to the farm, while chickens provide nourishment to the team and soils.
Pinot Noir will be planted in the coming years and the barn will be converted into a cellar.
The harvest sites
Currently the grapes are sourced from 4 different vineyard sites. Two sites in Elgin produce the grapes for Chi Riesling and two single sites make the Om Pinot noir and the Nom Pinot noir. All of the vineyards are no more than 100 km from the farm. All these sites have a cool climate in common, which accounts for high-quality grapes.
1. CHI RIESLING FIRST SITE, ELGIN
2. CHI RIESLING SECOND SITE, ELGIN
3. NOM PINOT NOIR SITE, ELANDSKLOOF
4. OM PINOT NOIR NOIR SITE, HEMEL-EN-AARDE RIDGE
5. HOME OF SAURWEIN, WATERVAL FARM, STANFORD