The Wide River wine range is named after the Breede River or Breërivier which translates from Afrikaans to mean ‘wide’ or ‘broad’ river. It drains a huge swathe of the Western Cape passing through the Robertson Valley, some 100 miles east of Cape Town, passing between the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges onwards and out to sea at Witsand.
The Robertson Valley’s location provides the ideal balance for grape growing: unlimited sunshine and mild summer winds with water from the river to supplement the low annual rainfall. This climate also makes it a centre for the breeding of race horses! The incredible diversity of terroir, from rich alluvial soils near the river, to shale and sandstone on the lower mountain slopes to the rocky higher slopes, ensures that a wide range of grape varieties can be grown. As a consequence, there is quality and diversity in the range and style of wines being made.
Founded in 1941, initially using a deconsecrated church, Robertson Winery has grown to become one of the larger wine co-operatives in South Africa. Some 35 local growers, some of them seventh generation, supply grapes from a total of 2,000 ha of vineyards. The senior winemakers are Francois Weich and Jacques Roux, and the 7.5 million vines, grown on over 40 farms, are overseen by Briaan Stipp with a team of viticulturists. The resulting wines are consistently good and, to boot, Robertson Winery, from vineyards to bottling halls, has a very positive policy on employing the local community.