Anwilka was founded in the late 1990s by former Klein Constantia owner Lowell Jooste in partnership with internationally renowned Bordeaux wine personalities Hubert de Boüard (co-owner of Château Angélus in Saint Emilion) and Bruno Prats (former owner of Château Cos d’Estournel in Saint- Estèphe). Their singular goal was to create an exceptional South African red wine by combining great winemaking traditions and innovations.
“When we arrived in South Africa, I was very attracted by the fact that soils were very adapted for the production of great wines. I am confident, that Anwilka has the potential to make one of the best red wines ever produced in South Africa.”
- Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, co-owner of Chateau Angelus & Klein Constantia
‘When Lowell offered Hubert and myself the opportunity to assist him in creating a great estate wine at Anwilka, I was excited yet reluctant due to not having experienced the climatic conditions of the site before,’ says Prats. ‘After visiting the estate, however, I became really enthusiastic. The gentle slopes reminded me of the famous “croupes” of the Médoc. The topsoil with little organic material, followed by a leached sandy layer, was perfect to limit the vigour and provide good drainage.’
Anwilka is located in Stellenbosch’s prime Helderberg ward. Affectionately known as ‘the Golden Triangle’ thanks to its specific microclimate and diverse soil types that produce some of the world’s best red wines, the Helderberg stretches from the edge of Stellenbosch to Somerset West. Anwilka is a mere 7km from the ocean and comprises almost 40 hectares of vineyards, now planted with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
“Fabulous... this is the finest red wine I have ever had from South Africa... This debut release, the 2005, a blend of 37% Syrah and the balance of Cabernet Sauvignon, is world class stuff, exceptional wine...”
- Robert Parker, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The maiden 2005 vintage of our eponymous Syrah-Cabernet blend was released to instant acclaim. ‘This is the finest red wine I have ever had from South Africa,’ declared US wine critic Robert Parker after tasting the wine at the Bordeaux en primeur tastings in 2006.
In May 2012, Anwilka merged with Klein Constantia, which the Jooste family had sold to Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman the previous year. ‘The Stellenbosch vineyards of Anwilka are a great addition to our portfolio, and we could not be happier to have Hubert and Bruno as partners,’ says Harman.
Since 2021, Klein Constantia winemaker Matthew Day has taken full responsibility for winemaking at Anwilka, building on the superb quality for which the wine was already internationally renowned – and taking it to the next level.
Stellenbosch is recognised as the Cape’s premium red wine producing district, with the maritime influence and healthy, low-yielding vines of the Helderberg delivering particularly good fruit.
“This is really a phenomenal South African wine showing such delicacy yet also power. The nose boasts plenty of iodine, crushed stones, balsam, violets and hints of sweet herbs. The palate’s full and exuberant with mouth-coating tannins and a long finish”
- James Suckling, Anwilka 2015
At Anwilka, gentle slopes facilitate water drainage during the rainy winter months. The soil itself is well-drained ‘koffieklip’ (stony ferricrete high in iron content) with a clay sub soil, which helps to retain moisture during the dry growing season.
Currently we have 39 hectares planted, predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. A few years ago, we also took the decision to plant some Malbec and Petit Verdot to provide extra dimension in our blending components.
After nearly three decades of farming at Anwilka, we have gained a thorough understanding of our terroir – helping us to prepare the land, determine the layout of the blocks, and select the best varieties, clones and rootstocks for this unique site.
“An impressive wine that not only shows off another great vintage in the Cape but also what is increasingly possible with the superb Anwilka Stellenbosch terroir.”
– Greg Sherwood, Master of Wine UK, Anwilka 2017.
At harvest, all of the various blocks are picked in parcels, and bunches are hand-sorted as they come into the recently refurbished boutique winery. Here, winemaking and ageing are as gentle and ‘hands-off’ as possible to preserve the striking purity of the grapes.
At Anwilka, as is the case at Klein Constantia, we take a highly proactive approach to sustainability and the environment. Regenerative farming is of paramount importance to us. Instead of relying on artificial fertilisers, we make use of cover crops and crop rotation, two basic principles of sustainable agriculture that also lead to greater biodiversity. Furthermore, our farm has no fences – just a modest gate – which allows animals to roam freely, from snakes and porcupines to various antelope species. Owls and bats are also regular visitors thanks to purpose-built breeding boxes spread throughout the vineyard.
Hubert de Boüard de Laforest from St. Emilion, France, graduated from the School of Oenology in Bordeaux and joined his family winery, Château Angélus, in 1980. By 1985 he was the estate’s director, succeeding in raising Château Angélus to Premier Grand Cru Classé status in the early 1990’s. Serving as a vital member of various wine associations, Hubert served as President of the St Emilion Viticultural Syndicate for 9 years and is a member of the National Institute of French Appelations. He has also been decorated as a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite and Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.
Hubert now consults for wineries around the world. Hubert owns Château La Fleur St. George in the Lalande de Pomerol appellation, where he produces La Fleur de Boüard and Le Plus de La Fleur de Boüard. In his free time, Hubert enjoys hunting, sailing, music, literature, art, and discovering vineyards around the world.
Bruno Prats has a degree in Agronomy from the Institut National Agronomique in Paris and a degree in Viticulture from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique in Montpellier.
For twenty-eight years he was the CEO and winemaker of his family vineyard Chateau Cos d’Estournel, the famed Cru Classé of Saint Estèphe in the Médoc. He is presently a managing partner in Viña Aquitania in Santiago de Chile, Alfynal in Alicante Spain and Chryseia in the Douro Valley, a wine created in partnership with the Symington family and recognised as one of Portugal’s finest wines.
Bruno is a member of the Académie du Vin de Bordeaux, Président of the Académie Internationale du Vin in Geneva and an Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. He lives in Switzerland with his wife France and enjoys sailing in his free time.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Matthew Day graduated from Stellenbosch University with a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) Degree in Viticulture and Oenology. He then gained invaluable experience working for various local and international wine producers, including Meerlust Estate in Stellenbosch, Château Belefont-Belcier in St Emilion, Elderton Estate in the Barossa Valley and Dancing Hares Estate in the Napa Valley.
Upon returning to South Africa in 2008, Matt took on the role of assistant winemaker at Klein Constantia under the guidance of Adam Mason. In 2012, he stepped up and took the helm – becoming only the third winemaker since the farm was revived in the 1980s. In 2021, he also assumed full responsibility for winemaking at Anwilka, where Bruno Prats and Hubert de Boüard de Laforest are also always delighted to share their vast expertise, along with consultant Philippe Nunes.
Stellenbosch-born Arjen Rijpstra was still at university in 2009 when he started his own business, buying and selling wine. Soon captivated by winegrowing, he worked harvests at Stellenbosch farms Asara and DeMorgenzon before joining Somerbosch in the Helderberg full-time in 2012, working his way up to the position of farm manager. In 2017 he moved to nearby Dornier Wines as viticulturist and farm manager, embracing regenerative farming methods to achieve ultra-premium fruit quality without impacting negatively on the environment. Retaining his entrepreneurial spirit, he also completed a Senior Management course through University of Stellenbosch Business School.
In May 2023, Arjen joined the Klein Constantia team at Anwilka, where he is determined to combine his knowledge of regenerative viticulture, winemaking and business to continue growing the Anwilka brand in a truly holistic way.