Capensis represents a return to Graham’s South African roots.Capensis, meaning “from the Cape,” is a leader in bringing South Africa to the forefront as a world-class Chardonnay producer. The commitment to Chardonnay comes from the belief that the truly great vineyard sites around the world are revealed by only a few noble grape varieties. South Africa’s Western Cape, the home of Capensis, can be called both the oldest wine region of the New World and the newest wine region of the Old World. Capensis skilfully combines these two facets — the oldest and the newest — of Western Cape winemaking. It embodies the unparalleled quality that comes from old, gnarled vines planted in some of the oldest soils in the world, and it represents the young energy of a new generation of winemakers determined to make world-class wines with state-of-the-art techniques. South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope has long been known as ideal for grape growing. Over the years the region’s winemaking history, which dates back more than three centuries, to the 1600s, has witnessed significant change. In the 1800s the root louse phylloxera obliterated South Africa’s vineyards, as it did vineyards elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, many sites often were replanted with high production, but low-quality grape varieties. With the end of apartheid in 1994 and the opening of the world export market, South Africa’s remarkable wine-growing potential became better known, enabling viticulturists to realise the regions potential by researching and selecting grape varieties that were best suited for particular sites. In the search for the best Chardonnay sites, the focus of Capensis has been on the Stellenbosch, Overberg, and Robertson regions in the Western Cape.
The Capensis winemaker
Graham Weerts is a Cape Town native, where he spent his childhood and the early part of his winemaking career. It was almost inevitable that Graham would pursue winemaking. It’s a career that draws upon his agricultural heritage and his love of the outdoors, while also offering creative outlets and an intellectual challenge. To him, no other product that humans make offers the complexities and artistic value of wine. It unites people of all cultures. As Graham likes to say, “few wars were started over a great bottle of wine.”
Graham earned his degree in viticulture, wine science and pomology from the Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch in 1996, and worked in both Bordeaux and California, before taking on his current position at Capensis. Today, he also oversees vineyard operations for Jackson Family Wines.