On Audacia we create a range of distinctive terroir specific no sulphur added red wines. Our portfolio consists of wines made using an innovative new globally patented process and technique involving the use of indigenous South African Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannin antioxidants, which saw the launch of our first Rooibos naturally preserved wines in 2014.
Rooibos & Honeybush Vinification Tannin Antioxidant Naturally Preserved Wines
In 2014 Audacia launched the world's first ever – Rooibos naturally preserved 'No Sulphur Added' red wine created by using indigenous Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and Honeybush (Cyclopia Genistoides) toasted wood chips. The wine, a merlot from the 2013 harvest, became the first of an exciting range of no sulphur added wines to be produced using Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannin antioxidants, enabling wine to be preserved naturally without the need to add sulphur as a chemical preservative. The unique natural vinification tannins now being produced in South Africa come from Red Dawn (IP) Holdings (www.reddawnip.co.za) a company of which Audacia is the founding shareholder.
The use of Red Dawn's South African indigenous plant tannin in wine allows for the creation of a totally new and unique category of wine, not to be confused with wine made using imported wood and tannins (wood staves, chips, tannins powders and liquids). The discovery and use of Rooibos and Honeybush locally produced wine vinification tannins enables wines natural preservation without the need of having to add sulphur as a chemical preservative. Red Dawn's innovative revolutionary breakthrough allowing wine to be naturally preserved has enabled Audacia to substantially raise the bar when it comes to a new way of global winemaking. Audacia is now producing what it knows to be some of 'the purest' wines in the world, made with in the main only four natural ingredients; fermented grape juice, yeast and indigenous natural Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannin, without the need to add other chemical additives, animal product or others as legislated.
Evolution, To Wine Making Revolution.......
1659 – Jan Van Riebeeck, the first Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, had an audacious plan to grow vines and produce wine in the Cape. His dream became a reality when he imported vine cuttings from Europe; on the 2nd of February 1659, he recorded in his journal how the first Cape wine was made.
1772 – Carl Thunberg, a Swedish naturalist visiting South Africa, noted that the Dutch settlers who had to rely on supply ships to bring them black tea from Europe. When running out of their imported black tea supplies would often substitute it by boiling a plant coming from the Cederberg region in the Western Cape, which they acquired from the indigenous people of the area. The settlers in the Cape embraced this locally made "tea", which served as an alternative to black tea, which became known as Rooibos (Red Bush) tea and has since grown in popularity in both South Africa and throughout the world.
2011– 352 years after Jan van Riebeeck had planted vines at the Cape and 239 years after Carl Thunberg observed settlers making tea from Rooibos leaves, Trevor Strydom (Audacia owner), began searching for means to create a distinctive red wine with a truly "indigenous" twist.
This challenge led Trevor to an extensive search to find a local alternative to imported oak and other wood derivatives (chips, staves, powders) and a massive range of imported tannins usually used in the winemaking process. After many months, the search was concluded when Trevor's daughter, Sarah–Jane offered him a cup of invigorating Rooibos tea after a hard day in the cellar. This was Trevor's "eureka" moment starting an ongoing journey of experimentation using both Rooibos and Honeybush plant wood initially and later tannins which turned a dream into reality. This breakthrough culminated in the formation of Red Dawn (IP) Holdings a company which owns a global patent for being able to Preserve, Protect and Enhance wines naturally without the need to add sulphur by using its tannins in a patented process, the use of which it promotes and shares openly with all wine produces in all countries around the globe.
Global Health Trends
According to Euromonitor International, a world leader in strategy research for consumer markets, when it comes to 'Wellness and Health' the 'FREE FROM' trend is the undisputed winner at a global level. Worldwide wine production has lacked innovation and not followed global health and wellness trends. Audacia is at the forefront of changing this paradigm with its 'No Sulphur Added' wines.
Our Audacia special way of making wine, without adding sulphur, enhances the fresh fruitiness and delicate flavours in our wine for your enjoyment, plus you get none of the sulphur preservative associated allergens or irritations normally associate with wines where sulphur is added.
Audacia No Sulphur Added wine
Is made using with indigenous Rooibos and Honeybush South African produced vinification tannins that are extremely rich in unique antioxidants and polyphenols that preserve wine naturally, without having to add sulphur as a chemical preservative to the wine whilst still maintaining the integrity and flavours of great traditional wine grape cultivars.
To claim 'No Sulphur Added' wine
For any global wine producer to claim 'No Sulphur Added' on a wine label the total Sulphur content of the wine must be below 10mg/L. All wines containing Sulphur levels greater than 10mg/L must have a health warning 'CONTAINS SULPHITES' label on them, making consumers aware that Sulphur is present in the wine.
Globally Shared Wine Making Process
Red Dawn (IP) Holdings (of which Audacia is a one third shareholder) the company owning the globally patented process of being able to Preserve, Protect and Enhance wines naturally using its range of indigenous South African produced vinification tannins, promotes and shares the new way of making wine openly with all wine produces in all countries around the globe. For more information see www.reddawnip.co.za
Michael van Niekerk has been our worked as Audacia winemaker since 2009. He is a graduate of Elsenburg Agricultural College and has completed degree courses in Cellar Technology, Cellar Management, Viticulture and Wine Science. Michael has worked at a number of estates in the Western Cape and also spent time in both Australia and California exploring their regional approaches to winemaking. Michael is energetic, talented and passionate about wine and life itself. Since 2011 Michael has been instrumental in pioneering the new way of making a range of healthier option wines by using Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannin antioxidants to replace having to add sulphur as a preservative to our Audacia wines. Michael understands that wine is a living, organic liquid with a life of its own that should not be overly fussed with, but needs to develop naturally. He looks for his solutions within the wine and does tries not to impose too much on natures natural the processes. of nature. He is well loved by his team and all those that know him.
Making Rooibos & Honeybush Antioxidant Preserved Wines
Immediately after harvest, our grapes and the wines they produce are bought into contact with Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannins. We then follow a process of where we would have added chemical sulphur in the wine making process we now the Rooibos and Honeybush vinification tannins in its place. These unique tannins impart unique preservative providing antioxidants and polyphenols into the wine, without the need to add sulphur as a preservative, thus creating the exciting and revolutionary new wine making process. Important to note is that the unique vinification tannins have no impact on traditional wine flavour or aroma armour, other than to unlock and release more of the natural flavours and aromas normally masked by sulphur.
The winemaker on Audacia is the link between vineyards and cellar, controlling all aspects of both viticulture and winemaking. Perfection is reflected in everything that occurs on Audacia: winter pruning and additional summer growth limitation means the crop is restricted to between seven and eight tons per hectare. Audacia is compact enough to ensure each vine gets individual attention. Just after the grapes begin to change colour, from green to black (in a process called veraison), the team go through all the vineyards doing a vendangevert or green harvest. This entails cutting excess bunches of grapes from the vine to concentrate the flavours in the remaining bunches. It's also a good way of getting rid of any poor grape bunches and ensuring that only the best grapes make it into the cellar. Once ripe, grapes are harvested into individual lug boxes which are then decanted into 500kg bins. When two of these half ton bins are full, they are swiftly transported to the cellar which is just 700m away from the furthest vineyard. This practice ensures the grapes are kept cool so as not to be vulnerable to the growth of any potential spoilage organisms.
Production is in the region of 125 to 135 tons of grapes, translating into roughly 20 000 cases (six bottles) of wine.
Each different block of grapes is vinified separately in small seven-ton stainless steel tanks. Experiments are done with a range of different low Sulphur yielding yeasts in order to get the best result for each individual vineyard block or grape variety while keeping naturally occurring Sulphur to a minimum.
After the initial alcoholic fermentation is completed a preliminary blending is done, based on the quality of the different batches which the winemaker has at his disposal. Some of the wines then go into cement tanks with oak staves to spend time obtaining wood character, while those destined for the Audacia flagship range go into brand new 300 litre French oak barrels. Depending on the style desired – and the wine's reaction to the wooding regime – the barrel maturation takes between 12 and 18 months.
After bottling, there is a further 12 to 24-month maturation period before the Audacia wine is released into the market. This final step of bottle maturation ensures that the consumer can be confident of a deliciously smooth red wine at the time of purchase, which will not only drink well, but mature further too.
Audacia is 23 hectares in size, with 16 hectares under vine. The vineyards can be found on predominantly south–facing slopes, ideal for cultivation since they are cooler than north–facing ones. These slopes vary from being as steep as 20% to almost 0% on the wide alluvial terrace. The defining feature of the farm is the Bonte River which created the valley and forms Audacia southern boundary.
Malbec is a red wine grape variety. The grapes have an inky dark colour and robust tannins. Long known as one of the six grapes allowed to be used in the blend of red Bordeaux wines, French plantings of Malbec are found primarily in Cahors in the southwest region of France. It has been cultivated extensively under the name Côt in the Loire Valley as well as in the Midi region since the 1700s. Malbec has adapted well to local conditions with the wines having a unique aroma and taste and can work equally well as a cultivar wine, or blended with other red wine cultivars.
This cultivar is of French origin where it has been grown in the Medoc region for many years and is used principally in classic Bordeaux blends. The wine shows good colour and is tannin rich with good ageing potential. Petit Verdot is normally blended with other wines in small amounts to add tannin, colour and flavour. It is also useful in 'stiffening' the mid palate of Cabernet Sauvignon blends.
This cultivar is of French origin where it has been grown in the Côte de Rhône since the Roman period. Syrah (as it is called in its country of origin) is a dark–skinned grape variety. Syrah is grown in many countries and is primarily used to produce powerful red wines, which enjoy great popularity in the marketplace under the synonym, "Shiraz".
Cabernet Franc is one of the major varieties of red wine grape grown in Bordeaux. It is mostly grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but is also vinified alone. The wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes resembles that of Cabernet Sauvignon but is softer and consumable at an earlier age. Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and the style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, and cassis, or sometimes violets.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most famous and widely recognised red wine grape varieties. It is grown in most major wine producing countries. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognised first through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Merlot – (pronounced: MERL–oh) is a red wine grape that is used in blends and as a varietal wine. Merlot–based wines usually have medium body with hints of berries, plums, and currants. Its softness and "fleshiness," combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot an ideal grape to blend with the sterner, later–ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.
Roobernet is a red wine grape cultivar that was hybridised by Professor Orffer from the University of Stellenbosch. This cultivar was released for commercial production in 1990. It is a cross between Pontac and Cabernet Sauvignon, hence the red juice of the grapes (also found in Pontac). The wine characteristics resemble that of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The major types of soils found on Audacia are Estcourt, Tukulu and Dundee / Westleigh, all of which have excellent water retaining capacity which is vital in view of global warming predictions. Gone are the days when South African wine farmers would scorn colleagues 'anderkant die berg' (on the other side of the mountain) in warmer regions who were forced to irrigate their vines. Irrigation has become crucial to most modern wine farming operations to prevent excessive stress on the vines.
All Audacia vineyards were equipped with supplemental drip irrigation when the new vineyards were established with water supplied from the Theewaterskloof dam. The farm's own dam (filled by the Bonte River) also provides water for irrigation, general farm use and a home for wild ducks and birds.
As the crow flies, Audacia is 20km from the cool waters of False Bay and lies at between 80m and 126m above sea level. This is relevant because of the influence of cool air moving inland from the cool ocean. The breeze is essential for cooling the vineyards and soil during South Africa's hot summers when it's vital that the grape vines don't get too hot and shut down photosynthesis. Think of it as natural air conditioning! Located in a gentle valley is highly advantageous to Audacia as it is thus protected from the strong Cape storm winds which could damage the vines at crucial stages of their growth.
The climate is warm and temperate. In winter, there is much more rainfall in Stellenbosch than in summer. The climate here is classified as Csb by the Köppen-Geiger system. The temperature here averages 16.4 °C | 61.5 °F. The annual rainfall is 802 mm | 31.6 inch. The driest month is January. There is 17 mm | 0.7 inch of precipitation in January. Most precipitation falls in June, with an average of 130 mm | 5.1 inch. With an average of 21.1 °C | 70.0 °F, January is the warmest month. In July, the average temperature is 11.6 °C | 52.9 °F. It is the lowest average temperature of the whole year. The precipitation varies 113 mm | 4 inch between the driest month and the wettest month. The average temperatures vary during the year by 9.5 °C | 49.1 °F.
Audacia subscribes to the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) and is both registered and authorised by The Wine and Spirit Board as an accredited IPW producer. This programme entails the use of the latest information and technology to track all aspects of production – both in the vineyard and cellar – in order to guarantee environmentally friendly practices.
For more information, click on: http://www.swsa.co.za/