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A pulpit for family wines
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After the Brink family of Riebeek West dug deep into their pockets to build a modern cellar with a production capacity of 600 tons, including two barrel maturation cellars, their first Pulpit Rock and Cape Haven wines immediately reaped the rewards.

The 2004 vintage was the first wines which were vinified in the Pulpit Rock wine cellar in Riebeek West and the 2004 Pulpit Rock Pinotage, Pulpit Rock Shiraz and 2004 Cape Haven Chenin Blanc were awarded gold at the SA Young Wine Show. On top of that the latter was the only Chenin Blanc from the Coastal region that received a gold medal.

The name Pulpit Rock derives from the rock face situated above the vineyards behind the Brinks' vineyard farm on the western slopes of Riebeek Mountain. It is the flagship range, while Cape Haven is the commercial range. Many years ago farmers traveled long distances to come and grind their wheat in the mill-wheel at Groenrivier, a Brink family farm in Riebeek West, and it was a place where they blissfully relaxed, hence the name Cape Haven.

The Pulpit Rock range is also a new wine brand in Louisiana, America, where it is ready for sale in restaurants and hotels. Although the wines are also available at the cellar in Riebeek West, most of the stock has been allocated for Louisiana.

Brinkshof Wines (Pty) Ltd is a wine business in which both men and women play an important role. Ernst Brink and his two sons, Van der Byl and Haumann Brink, are the co-owners and their wives, Louise, Carin and Hesta respectively, are the directors. Louise is the chairman of the board of directors.

The Brink family is well known in the agricultural industry. Father and sons serve on the board of directors of Wamakersvallei Winery in Wellington. Ernst is the chairman, while Van der Byl is a board member and Haumann is a junior board member. Besides the family's two vineyard farms at Riebeek West, Ernst Brink is one of the biggest pig-farmers in the Western Cape, whilst the family also owns agricultural property in Namibia.

Ninety percent of the grapes harvested on their farms in Riebeek West are delivered to Wamakersvallei Winery. As agreed with Wamakersvallei, the other 10% (28 800 cases) are vinified in the Brinks' newly built cellar. In 2003 a very small volume of Pulpit Rock wines were produced at Wamakersvallei and this year the Brinks and their winemaker Piet Kleinhans made their first wines in their own cellar.

According to winemaker Piet Kleinhans the emphasis is on full ripe grapes and wood maturation.

"The Pulpit Rock range is matured in small French and American oak barrels, while oak staves are used for the Cape Haven range. The Pulpit Rock Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are matured in 100% French oak barrels and the Pulpit Rock Shiraz and Pinotage in 70% French and 30% American barrels," says Piet.

"The soil and climate in the Riebeek ward of the Swartland region are especially conducive to fruit-driven red wines. The grapes are selected very meticulously and harvested full ripe to achieve optimum quality, including good structure and prominent fruit. Each of the flagship wines are nurtured in the cellar, it receives special treatment.  

"Our basic formula to successfully feature the top quality grapes in the wine is the correct fermentation yeasts and the correct kind and quality of oak barrels for maturation."

The Pulpit Rock range consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinotage, Merlot and Chardonnay, while the Cape Haven range consists of the same wines plus a Chenin Blanc.

According to Ernst Brink he has for many years pondered about building their own cellar and producing their own wines, but other priorities prolonged the process.

"I was elected as chairman of Wamakersvallei Winery in Wellington in 1994 and put everything into that task. Now, ten years later, our family decided the time has arrived for our own cellar," says Ernst.

"Our interest and passion for wine have come a long way and is still going to go a long way. My father was in 1918 approached to become the winemaker at Groot Constantia, but granddad said he must make wine on the family farm Groenrivier. My son Haumann has got an Elsenburg College diploma in Cellar Technology and my other son Van der Byl a B.Com degree from the University of Stellenbosch.

"They both immediately joined their dad on the farm after completing their tertiary education. With the men as owners who are totally involved in the wine farming and cellar, and the women who serve on the board of directors, this is a true Cape family business and no short cuts were taken to execute everything at the highest level."

Caption for photograph:

The family company. From left are Ernst Brink and Louise Brink, Hesta and Haumann Brink and Van der Byl and Carin Brink. The father and sons are the owners of Brinkshof Wines (Pty) Ltd and the wives the board of directors.

Released by ML Communications on behalf of Brinkshof Wines (Pty) Ltd.

For more information or photographs, contact Marius Labuschagne at
Tel: (021) 981 8546



Tel: +27.224612025   Fax: +27.224612028   Email:  
P.O. Box 1, De Gift, Riebeek West, 7306, South Africa