The first 7 hectares was acquired by Emil and Sonette den Dulk and 2 years later they acquired the final additional 17 hectares.
Emil Den Dulk
Emil Den Dulk, Owner
In 1994 Emil and Sonette were searching for a special property in the Cape. When they arrived here and looked out at Table Mountain in the West, across False Bay and east to the Stellenbosch mountains, they knew they had found one. Emil and Sonette began a journey to create South Africas first 5 varietal Bordeaux blend with a philosophy of gentle winemaking and detailed vineyard practices. Emil can be attributed to creating a true designer wine estate in South Africa.
“I believe the detailed attention we give to our vineyards and to the winemaking process is reflectedin our wine. It is not just another wine…it is a wine made with passion and a labour of love”
Albie Koch, Managing Director
Stellenbosch native Albie Koch is committed to creating wines that are elegant, nuanced, silky soft and true to the terroir at De Toren. De Toren flows from Albie’s winemaking and vineyard practices, his passion for the land and his connection to Stellenbosch.
“We do not adopt a blanket approach to anything we do. We use modern technology available and access the knowledge pool of the University of Stellenbosch to assist us. We choose the correct rootstocks for the correct soil and give it the correct irrigation and gentle treatment in order for the plant to reach the optimal and near-perfect berry…delivering the desired style of our wines.”
Our Berry Sugar Loading project was chaired by Professor Alan Deloire from the University of Stellenbosch.
The objective was to help us identify and map the different taste profiles created by berries in their different stages of ripeness. We conducted tastings of wine samples taken from our Merlot block, with the berries of each sample having been picked at a different level of maturity.
Distinct flavour profiles were identified for each level of maturity and this then provided us with an indication of when to harvest our grapes. This could mean that different blocks can be harvested at different sugar loading stages to enhance complexity.
"Distinct flavour profiles have been identified for each level of maturity"
Lateral Shoot Removal was the topic of De Toren Winemaker, Charles Williams Masters thesis.
The aim was to better understand the effects of shoot removal and how it influences the vigour of the berrys composition to validate the merits of a late defoliation treatment.
The research offered us quantified analysis to assist in the improvement of our canopy management in future vintages.
"Lateral shoot removal ensures optimum sun penetration onto the bunches"
Can South Africa produce a cult wine that would compete with the great wines of the world?
In 2010 we produced our first limited release under the expression UNIQUE banner and the label BOOK XVII. The name is based on the writings of the Roman Philosopher, Pliny the Elder. In his book 17, chapter 35, he touches on why wines from certain areas are exceptional, and it was these principles that led us to this wine. BOOK XVII is represented by expression Unique, a new global collection of boutique icon wines
In 2012 this wine was followed by The Black Lion - a huge and magnificent shiraz from Swartland. www.expressionunique.com
"Hand destemming the berries"
Each year, De Toren selects two of the top 3rd year students from Stellenbosch University to join us on the farm for 6 months of practical work experience.
Not merely on hand to assist in frivolous odd-jobs on the farm, these eager minds are given specific research topics relating to the vineyards and cellar. They are given the opportunity to scientifically examine, test and determine a result using their unique skills.
All manner of topics are covered, including yield reduction principles, extreme viticulture practices, and the co-inoculation of yeast and malolactic bacteria in wine.
"Students helping with harvest"