AA Badenhorst Family Wines are grown, made and matured on Kalmoesfontein farm in the Swartland appellation of South Africa. 28ha of old bushvines grow in the Siebritskloof part of the Paardeberg mountain.
The property is owned by the baie dynamic and good looking cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst. They are originally from Constantia. Their grandfather was the farm manager of Groot Constantia for 46 years. Their fathers were born there and farmed together in Constantia, during the days when people still ate fresh vegetables and Hanepoot grapes, drank Cinsault and there were a lot less traffic lights and hippies still had a presence. Together these two have restored a neglected cellar on the farm that was last used in the 1930′s to make natural wines in the traditional manner.
Andre Adriaan Badenhorst grew up between the vineyards of Constantia and spent his time picking (stealing) grapes. “It all started when Jean Daneel, then winemaker at Buitenverwachting, let me make my first wine when I was thirteen,” Adi recalls.
After completing his studies at Elsenburg, Adi worked a few harvests at Chateau Angelus, Alain Graillot in the north Rhone, France and Wither Hills in New Zealand and did stints at local cellars Simonsig, Steenberg, Groote Post and nine years as winemaker at the esteemed Stellenbosch estate, Rustenberg.
In 2008 he packed it all in and bought a 60-hectare piece of land in the Paardeberg with his cousin Hein. They now proudly farm together, practice biological farming and make natural wines in the traditional manner.
On Kalmoesfontein it is back to basics, using traditional winemaking equipment and old cement kuipe. “We make wines with immense character. We’re using what we can afford. We are making the best wines we can. And we are having great experiences. I want to make something, involving interaction from my family.”
Today Adi Badenhorst is a much talked about winemaker, member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, founding member of the Swartland Revolution and Swartland Independent, proud dad to Samuel Sunnyskies & Ana Kalander and ever evolving Vigneron, amongst other things (like parrot farmer, LP collector, egg poaching pro, tea connoisseur, Land Cruiser driver, ponytail wearer and local legend…)
The vineyards – Mostly old bushvines planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s to Chenin Blanc, Cinsault and Grenache. The vines are unirrigated and farmed as biologically as possible. The vineyards are planted on north, east, and south facing slopes bringing tremendous variety to the fruit. Fruit from other selected sites within the appellation are also purchased to complete the final blends.
The soils – Three distinct types of granites are found here, namely the Paardeberg-, Lammershoek- and Lemoenfontein-type plus different sub-surface geology including clay, weathered granite and some serious shale.
The winemaking – All fruit, red and white, is whole bunch-handled so no crushing or destemming takes place. The whites are tranferred directly to old casks or into concrete tanks for fermentation and ageing. The red grapes are fermented in concrete tanks and open wooden kuipe. The post fermentation maceration is lengthy – up to 4 months -whereafter the wines are put to cask or 4000L foudres. No additions are done to the grapes other than sulfur before and after fermentation.
Our inspiration – The great old wines of South Africa and the discarded varietals, the bottles of which can be found in the forgotten corners of old cellars before modern methods and fame came along and changed the purity of the wines.
The grapes used are from our farm and from our neighbour’s excellent fruit. Most vines are mountain sloped bushvines. We maintain that high quality fruit comes from old un-irrigated bushvines grown on a variety of granite soils that are naturally low yielding.