The cool climate of Walker Bay is perfect for our Pinot Noir and largely influenced by the nearby cold Atlantic Ocean, rendering it one of the coolest wine growing areas in the Cape. The Hemel-en-Aarde valley is surrounded and sheltered by a mountain barrier – formed by the Galpin Peak at 810m and the Tower of Babel at 1200m – trapping the cloud cover and moisture brought in from the sea by the prevailing wind. Summer conditions are consequently warm rather than hot, and winter conditions are mild and frost-free. The sea breezes work to keep vines cool thereby encouraging slow ripening and flavour-rich grapes.
The soil of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is predominantly a duplex structure of Bokkeveld Shale. The top layer consists of a mixture of clay (15-30%) and gravel (ironstone and granite particles) and the lower layer is clay shale, which secures a source of moisture. Vines are planted on gentle slopes in a north-south direction, which takes advantage of the daily travel of sunlight from east to west and ensures equitable sunlight exposure. Vineyard practices are in keeping with planting and trellising methods of the most respected French wine-producing areas, with vine density exceeding 9000 vines per hectare. More than 50% of the vineyard is dedicated to growing Pinot Noir.
Bouchard Finlayson has established a global reputation for its flagship wine, the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, which has won numerous awards and accolades. Repeated vintages of this path-blazing wine continue to reflect a true celebration of Pinot: consistently endorsing the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley as the perfect place to grow this illusive grape. Other cultivars from the farm include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Chenin Blanc and Riesling as well as some newer varieties: Nebbiolo, Barbera and Mourvèdre – unusual in new-world wine growing regions but very well suited to the unique terroir.
With 58 years of environmental conservation experience, and at over 80 years of age, Mr. Woodvine is still actively involved in furthering the environment and promoting the importance of the Cape Floral Kingdom. With Frank's involvement, Bouchard Finlayson is now, proudly, a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Conservation Champion – acknowledged as an environmental leader in the industry for our commitment to conservation, responsible production practices, integrated environmental management systems, and spearheading innovations in water, energy efficiency and climate adaptation.