RAATS FAMILY WINE
STELLENBOSCH - SOUTH AFRICA
For a new wine country like South Africa it is not surprising that many wine companies look closely at their neighbors and their successes and apply the same formula to be successful in the highly competitive global wine market as well. But as a country develops further, more and more idiosyncratic companies try to be different, rather than directly copying what others do. The Raats Family can be counted among this new group of winemakers. Just think: where everyone plants a whole series of grapes for the wines, Raats has completely concentrated on two grapes, Cabernet-Franc for red and Chenin-Blanc for white. Very challenging, especially in the case of the Cabernet-Franc, which we hardly see in the red wines in South Africa. Winemaker Bruwer Raats sees both the Cabernet-Franc and the Chenin-Blanc as undervalued grapes, with which much credit can be gained. The family breathes wine, the noble drink here comes from all pores: pure passion! Each vineyard block is cared for to perfection, to get the most perfect quality everywhere.
Raats is a typical family business, where the whole family is really involved. Bruwer and Jasper Raats Senior are the owners, Bruwer makes the wine and his father Jasper takes care of the vineyards. Jasper Raat's junior, Bruwer's brother, has now also joined the family business, as a partner and to oversee the work in the vineyards. Bruwer's wife Janice does the administration. The philosophy is to make wines of absolute top quality from the two grapes. This is done by keeping the grapes from a total of 25 hectares of vineyards -4 in our own possession, the rest rented- separate when making wine, to determine the final composition only later, based on the best barrels and tanks.
While two grapes play the lead role, the real lead role is for the Chenin Blanc as it makes up a whopping 85% of the production. One of the advantages is that the Chenin uses different terroirs, which together provide more complexity in the wines.
Among other things, fruit is sought from somewhat higher vineyards in Stellenbosch, because the Chenin then has more natural freshness, so that the wines can retain a beautiful liveliness. A large part of the wine also comes from old vines, with which the wines can acquire a lot of concentration and strength. Bruwer Raats is convinced of the quality of Chenin Blanc from old vines, which he sees as one of the great assets of the wines from South Africa.
The success of Raats' wines is well demonstrated by the rave reviews in England and the United States, and of course also the export figures. No less than 80% of the wines end up abroad, which is a lot for a South African winery. And that success came very quickly for a company that bottled its first wines in 2000.
Raats is a family-run wine estate in beautiful Stellenbosch. Small-scale and exclusive are 2 words that come to mind! Wine tasting are on appointment only and are an exclusive event. This can easily be combined with a visit to some other small exclusive wineries, ending the day for examply with a picnic in a garden of one of the many stunning wine estates such as Boschendal or Warwick! We know an amazing wine connoisseur, born and bred in the Cape, that can show you around and take you to some of the great exclusive wine estates that not everyone knows. This makes for a unique experience, which can easily be combined with a visit to Cape Town, Fransschoek and for example Hermanus. To complete the African experience, you could end your visit with a safari!