Donovan Rall - Giant of a winemaker


Donovan Rall is a giant of a man and a giant of a winemaker

But Donovan is a gentle giant and one of many winemaking giants in the Cape these days. Having graduated with a degree in viticulture and oenology in 2005, Dovovan spent the next few years working in vineyards around the world before returning to his home in South Africa's Cape winemaking region. Natural winemaking was always his mission, harvesting small quantities of amazing fruit from several very special vineyard parcels around the Cape. Donovan is a blending wizard and, not surprisingly, a red and a white Cape blend are the mainstay of his production both made in quite small quantities. In addition he is a member of the very significant Swartland Independent Producers, a group of like-minded wine-growers in the Swartland region of the Western Cape whose object is to make authentic wines that represent the terroir of the region and to which quite strict rules apply.

Donovan's Rall Red is red blend with Syrah and Grenache and always comes from 100% Swartland fruit while his Rall White is a stunning blend of Chenin Blanc with Verdelho, Viognier and Chardonnay. His 2016 release was one of Tim Atkin MW's White Wines of the Year in his 2017 South Africa Wine Report.

Image courtesy of Greg Sherwood MW

Black Pearl Chenin Blanc Mourvedre

Mary Lou Nash punching down in her cellar

Mary-Lou Nash's family come from Murvey Roundstone in Connemara  - a magical place which is very close to our hearts and lives. We met Mary-Lou quite by chance at the Swarland Revolution in 2015 and and went on to visit her at  Black Pearl Wines,  her home in the Swartland home surrounded by vineyards with Table Mountain in the distance - another magical place. Starting out with zero viticultural or winemaking knowledge when her father bought a run-down wine farm on the slopes of Paarl Mountain, she became hooked after the first harvest. She became a Cape Wine Master in 2011 and has become highly regarded in the Cape Wine community. We really enjoyed getting to know Mary-Lou and were very impressed with her wines made with a minimal intervention approach. So we were delighted to add the wines of another great winemaker with Irish roots to our portfolio.

The Rhenosterkop farm, where Black Pearl Wines is located, adjoins the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and consists of critically endangered vegetation including Swartland Granite and Shale Renosterveld as well as  Swartland Granite Fynbos. Conservation of these very valuable habitats are a very important element of the farm management to maintain this precious eco-system. You can read more about Rhenosterveld here.

All of this has been quite a journey for a lass who was a beer drinker and who knew who know nothing of good wine before her arrival in the Cape. Read more about Mary Lou's journey in wine


Ginny Povall is a wizard when it comes to winemaking. She manages to seek out really special vineyards and then create amazing wines from them - quite something for a self taught winemaker. Unlike most of the 'Young Guns', Ginny's wine journey started after she gave up a successful accountancy career in New York though rumour have it that she dabbled with winemaking in her own home while still in the US. Her Mary Delany Chenin Blanc made from precious old vine Skurfberg grapes is now an icon while her Mary Delany Pinot Noir is also a real beauty.

botanica chenin blanc


Not only are Ginny's wines themselves so amazing but the labels... Ginny has a love of the land, be it vinyards or flowers. She purchased a protea farm when she came to South Africa - those stunning flowers thay appear here in Christmas floral arrangenents. The botanical connection continues through to her labels. Ginny came across the work of Mary Delany, a remarkable series of botanical collages that were  crafted in the late 1700's with hundreds of tiny pieces of cut paper that are breathtakingly beautiful. Ginny was able to licence some of these art works for her wines. The one we see here features on her benchmark Chenin Blanc label.

David Nadias Great grandfathers Vineyard

This Chenin Blanc vineyard was planted by Nadia's great grandfather in 1962

David and Nadia Sadie are game changers in the Swartland 

David Nadia in Pinotage on Paardebosch farm


David and Nadia are a young couple doing extraordinary things in the Swartland, Nadia the viticulturalist and David the winemaker though their roles do overlap. They work exclusively with a range of organic, old and dry land bush vine vineyards from different areas and soil types throughout the Swartland including a 56 old vineyard planted by her great grandfather - something that means a lot to them both. They work on the principle at that good, organically driven farming practices are a basic essential for quality winemaking followed by minimal intervention in the cellar.

As they constantly strive to do things better, they have generated widespead praise for the balance, purity, freshness and expression of place in their wines - they are a revelation and a joy.


 "Wine is all about natural balance, purity and freshness. We believe that these qualities can only be rightfully expressed when the soil and vineyards are respected. Our focus is on different soil types, different mountain terrain and mainly bush vines. In the cellar, we have a minimal intervention approach and only add a little sulphur. It’s about the soil and vineyards after all."

'Everything is new about this ground-breaking wine' wrote Jancis Robinson in 2010

The wines have real poise and geographical signature about them.

 A family camping trip for David and Rita Trafford to remote Malgas in 2000 was life-changing and led to what could have been a totally crazy project. Not for David though, one of the wisest & most talented of the Cape's winemakers. The very poor, complex soils with very low rainfall really spoke to him as he was confident that carefully chosen varietals planted as bush vines could yield vey high quality. Syrah is the most planted varietal with smaller amounts Chenin Blanc. These are supported by a mix of other drought resistant varietals from warm dry areas including Mourvedre from the south of France, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira from the Douro, small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon with Viognier for the white wines. Everything is done naturally and by hand in the vineyard and the cellar from picking the grapes through to hand bottling (yes, each bottle is hand filled!) and labeling.


Duncan Savage made stunning whites for years & now making really exciting reds in addition.

Duncan's wines are indeed Savage as we in Ireland would say.

Duncan Savage was the creator of the glorious white wines at Cape Point Vineyards since 2002 until he resigned in 2016 to concentrate full-time of his own 'Savage' label. The maiden 2011 vintage of his Savage Red was introduced to us by sommelier Joakim Hansi Blackadder in September 2013 and needless to say, we were blown away by it. Duncan gets his grapes from a variety of critically selected vineyards, particularly those in windswept maritime and high altitude locations. We have been working with Duncan since the 2013 vintage and what a privlege it has been. Apart from a glorious Savage White in 2014, Duncan has added two additional red wines to his portfolio.  Follow the Line, already a cult wine is  very exciting Cinsaut led blend while tiny quantities of a straight Syrah grown close to his home at Cape Point where the wind certainly blows and cools. Rumours of a new red about to be released.

Apart from his lovely wife Zani and their gorgeous two girls and his winemaking, I nearly forgot to mention another major part of Duncan’s life - he is a real surf dude. He came to Ireland for some events last October and carried his surf board all the way from South Africa to Ireland via several stops around Europe 'because we have the best surf beaches' - he spent a day in Easkey before heading back to the Cape that night.

As well as excelling at everything he does, Duncan is one heck of a nice guy who loves fun, is great company and a real pleasure and privilege to work with.

Tim Atkin’s Young Winemaker of the Year 2017

Demand for these wines always far outstrips supply

Chris Alheit is already a legend despite his young age. He and his equally young wife, Suzaan make some of the Cape's most exciting white wines with a strong focus on the origin of the grapes. Their main production is Chenin Blanc blended with small amounts of Semillon called Cartology. In addition, they also make a tiny quantity of two seaparate Chenin Blanc vineyard bottlings called Magnetic North Mountain Makstok and Radio Lazarus. Sadly the Radio Lazarus will not be made anymore because of the impact of three years of drought on the old vines. Demand for these wines always far outstrips supply and we are thrilled to have an allocation of the precious Cartology this past few years.

Fine wine is grown rather than made

 "We aim to vinify extraordinary Cape vineyards. In doing so, we hope to find the voice of the land itself. Whether that voice be a choir of amazing blocks blended into one bottle, or the purity and beauty of a single vineyard soloist. We strongly believe that fine wine is grown, rather than made. In our cellar, a vineyard is allowed to become a wine without interference."


Alheit Vineyards South Africa

'Richard Kershaw MW has turned the world of New World Chardonnay on its head' - Greg Sherwood MW

Site specific, clonal selection, cool climate wines in Elgin

Born and raised in the UK, Richard enjoyed a successful career as a chef before finding wine. After travelling extensively, he arrived in South Africa in 1999 and by 2009 was Group Winemaker of Mulderbosch and Kanu. Richard is International Master of Wine (MW), one of only MWs worldwide making their own wine. He is now pursuing his dream of making his own site specific and clonally selected wines in the cool climate of Elgin.  Richard's endless knowledge and understanding of winemaking in all it's parts has led him to produce extraordinarily good wines from Chardonnay, Syrah and more recently Pinot Noir in Elgin's cool climate.

His attention to detail filters down to smaller points such as are apparent on the beautiful labels and packaging. You can read more about this here including an explanation of the hallmark on the label reflecting his Sheffield origins.  However, the level of detail goes for beyond this as Richard is always happy to explain

Richard's website  is a mine of information on all aspects of wine and winemaking. He also writes technical blogs, lectures for the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) recently set up in South Africa and is much in demand for wine show judging.

Doran Vineyards

Irishman Edwin Doran lives the dream as a Wild Geese wine producer in the Fair Cape!

And old friend, now business partner André Badenhorst has worldclass winemaking in his pedigree for generations

Edwin Andre at Doran Wines

Edwin Doran was born in Leixlip and educated in Belvedere College where he was introduced to rugby which, together with food and wine, became his life’s passions.

In July 1974, Edwin set up a travel business in Twickenham which grew into the world’s largest sports tour operator. After nearly 35 years, he sold his company in November 2008 and, continuing to live the dream, bought a 400 acre wine farm in the Voor Paardeberg with his close friend, Andre Badenhorst, a name very familiar in South African wine circles. André was born at Groot Constantia where his father was general manager for 46 years. He spent much of his life  

A keen wine enthusiast, Edwin built up a very interesting private wine collection over the years and then sold it to pay for the new cellar with its 20 stainless steel tanks.

In their wisedom and to their good fortune, they appointed the young and very talented Martin Lamprecht as winemaker. I met Edwin & Martin in Cape Town to taste their wines prior to bottling their first vintage. They came with a few plastic bottles and I thought  'what's this about?.' However, on tasting, I was really impressed. We even did a little bit of blending trial runs.  Doran’s style focuses on their top quality fruit combined with judicious use of oak with delicacy & finesse.

Edwin Doran considers himself a very lucky man to have his hobby as his occupation and was really chuffed to have had the worldwide launch of his Doran Family Wines on Irish soil at the Dubolin Bay Wine Experience in 2013. 

Lismore Wine Estate 1884 x 964

Pioneering Sam O'Keefe makes world class wines at Lismore 

Snow, Baboons and Leopard among the challenges in the vineyard

Samantha OKeefe JpgSamantha O'Keefe grew up in California but her grandfather hailed from the south of Ireland. She found herself in the Cape where whe stumbled on an old disused dairy farm called Lismore. The farm, where Sam works single handledly is located in the remote mountainous area of Greyton two hours from Cape Town at the end of a dirt road. She is now one of the Cape's most talented winemakers particularly with a range of single varietal wines both red and white. There is hardly a week that goes by that one of her wines is not lauded by wine writers across the globe.

Mullineux Roundstone vineyard

Chris & Andrea Mullineux are highly regarded around the world for their magical touch in the vineyard & cellar

Andrea Mullineux - Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of the Year 2016 - a first for a winemaker in the Cape

Chris Andrea MullineuxYoung winemakers, Chris and Andrea Mullineux, are making sensational wines in this area of old bush vines and dry land farming.

Chenin and Syrah are the dominant grapes supported by other southern Rhone and Mediteranean varietals. Under the Mullineux Family Wines label, they make a Syrah, a white blend dominated by Chenin supported by Clairette Blanche and Viognier as well as a Straw Wine from Chenin. In addition, they make a very special range of single terroir wines in limited quantities from varied soil type including granite, schist and iron while their Kloof Street range punches well above it's weight for your buck.

Bywords would include sustainable reasoned farming, natural, minimalist, nothing added or removed apart from minimal sulphur

They are founding members of the Swartland Independent Producers - a group of like-minded winemakers in the area. Their strict criteria & values are self imposed and regulated. Any certified wine from the Swartland will have a SIP Logo sticker and a unique bottle numner.

About Kinnegar

Kinnegar Wines was born almost by accident and been growing organically since.

In 1998, I was in the midde of a two year diploma course with the London Wine & Spirits Trust when an opportunity came up to visit South Africa's Western Cape. Naturally, I was keen to avail of the opportunity to learn more about viticulture and winemaking in South Africa.

We had an excellent guide who brought us to a number of the Cape's leading estates including Thelema and De Trafford where we had in depth vineyard and cellars tours. At the end of the day, I wanted to take back some of the wonderful wines we had tasted for our own use. It was not possible to take two or three cases of wine with us on our flight and shipping such a small quantity was more than the cost of wines. So I had the mad idea of shipping a pallet! Clearly, I had to start selling these wines and so began Kinnegar Wines. Ashford Castle took many of the wines and continue to list them and newer arrivals ever since.

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