New Lammershoek Life
The name Lammershoek dates back more than three centuries, linked to survival or the preservation of life in a harsh, untamed environment. Meaning “lambs’ corner”, legend has it that ewes sought shelter for their small lambs in the forest alongside the farm when they felt threatened by the black eagle which abounded here – locally known as the Lammervanger, meaning “lamb catcher” in the Afrikaans language.
And here in this sheltering valley of the Paardeberg Mountain in the Swartland district – a stone’s throw from Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain – Lammershoek’s farming legacy is perpetuated in the seasonal pulse of nature and its ever-renewing life. In the vibrant new vineyard shoots of spring, in green landscapes framed by rocky mountain outcrops, in new harvests and new characteristics and qualities … also in new wines, styles and wine ranges, names and labels.
Yes, Lammershoek is indeed showing new life and vibrancy – driven by new role players, new ownership, directions, creativity and broadening horizons which will leave its fresh footprint in both the South African domestic and the export markets, especially Europe where its powerful shareholders are based.
The farm – in the Aprilskloof valley which is still a largely undiscovered gem of scenic beauty and individualistic wine production – was acquired in 2013 by a trio of well-known German businessmen and sporting executives. The majority investor is legendary soccer star Franz Beckenbauer, with communications specialist Andreas Abold and sport promotor Fedor Radmann.
They specifically selected this unique piece of land in a still unspoilt environment, which reflects their belief that joie de vivre and pleasure can be reconciled with personal responsibility and the nuances of nature.
A new management team was introduced at the beginning of 2015 and the green hills of Lammershoek are alive with the growth and dynamism of a new era – an era reflected in new-born wines crafted to enhance the wine-lover’s joy of life …
Once a hiding place for lambs …
The original flock of sheep owned by the first registered owner of Lammershoek, a Cape Colonial “free burgher” of the early 1700s, has over the centuries grown to a proud enterprise where mixed stock farming has been replaced by specialised wine-growing.
Adriaan van Jaarsveld and his family settled here after obtaining grazing rights for sheep while farming among the French Huguenot community at Drakenstein near Paarl and Paardeberg. He acquired full ownership in 1718 and soon the farm came to life with a horse, cattle and sheep, while cultivation started with wheat and later some 600 vines.
Van Jaarsveld left in 1721 but the foundations were laid for a series of family-based owners to develop the 180 hectares farm into a top wine farm and cellar. Lammershoek is now owned by a consortium of purposeful German investors who are prominent in the international sports promotion world and run by a new, hands-on management and winemaking team.
The sheltering Swartland corner
Lammershoek is situated in the Aprilskloof Valley of the Paardeberg, Swartland, with 60 hectares of vineyards at altitudes of 80 – 300 metres above sea level.
The white grape cultivars grown include old bush-vine Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Hárslevelű and Marsanne and the reds Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Pinotage, Zinfandel and Tinta Barocca. These are warmer climate cultivars at the core of the Swartland winegrowing district’s award-winning tradition.
Here the Paardeberg Mountain area is characterised by decomposed granite soils and unique terroir traits that inspire a movement of modern-day winemaking pioneers who strive for optimum soil expression and fruit purity.
At Lammershoek disease and pests are controlled in the most natural and eco-friendly manner possible, with raptor posts to attract raptors such as the jackal- buzzard and owls, which help control rodents in the vineyards. Natural predators of insects are preserved in order to eliminate pests.
As a whole, life in the soils, water and vineyards is handled with the utmost respect, to protect and conserve what nature has entrusted to us where survival has been replaced by life-giving.
New blood; new drive
”Striving for Excellence” is at the core of the vision and mission of both Lammershoek’s new owners and the management team – led by Schalk Opperman, general manager and winemaker, Marius Kotze, viticulturist and farm manager, and Jonathen Ralph, marketing and sales manager.
The fine-tuned selection of wines ranges from the lifestyle range, The Innocent, to a
new flagship range, Lammershoek Reserve. In addition, there is a limited production, creative label, the Lammershoek’s Mysteries range. Moreover, the 2015 vintage has seen the introduction of an extraordinary blend – created in consultation with co-owner Franz Beckenbauer as his Libero No 5 label.
We have 60 hectares of vineyards, all farmed organically and mostly by the typical Swartland dry-land (unirrigated) method.
The white cultivars include old bush-vine Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Hárslevelü, Marsanne and the reds, Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Pinotage, Zinfandel and Tinta Barocca.
Chenin Blanc comprises 60% of the white cultivars and Syrah, in turn, 60% of the reds. These are warmer climate cultivars at the core of the Swartland’s award-winning tradition.
The Paardeberg Mountain surrounds are characterised by decomposed granite soils and unique terroir traits which find expression in the recognition of the area’s fruit-driven wines.
The challenges faced in our vineyards are that the soils are poor in nutrients, and, of course, the low annual rainfall. These factors, among others, lead to low-yielding vines, which produce small, but intensely flavoured bunches. Altogether 80% of the vineyards are bush-vines of which only 40% are under irrigation.
Disease and pests are controlled as natural and eco-friendly as possible, with raptor posts to attract raptors and owls, to help control rodents in the vineyards, and the preservation of natural predators of insects to help control pesky insects.
As a whole, life in the soils, water and vineyards is handled with the utmost respect, to protect and conserve what nature has entrusted to us.
CLIMATE – At a sea level heights ranging from 80 – 300 metres we have a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters and with most of the vineyards comprising bush-vines, which, combined with typical Swartland dryland farming, results in particularly flavourful, terroir-driven wines.
SOILS – Our soils consist mainly of decomposed granite and is quite sandy and it is this soil that gives our wines their lovely texture and lingering aftertaste. Granite-based soils in the Swartland are deep and sandy, found close to, or on, the granite outcrops of the Paardeberg Mountain.
Situated in an elongated north-south valley of about 3 kilometres, the farm features good variations of aspect and micro-climates utilised optimally for the various grape cultivars. The soils are generally duplex in character, consisting of a very deep layer of coarse, bleached sand on top of a thick layer of wet clay. The sandy topsoil is extremely well-drained, but the thick, dense layer of clay, which often lies meters below the surface, acts as a slow release sponge for the vines’ deeper roots during the South African summer.
NATURE – Our wines are pure, with a good natural acidity and captures the uniqueness of the Swartland district. We aim to bottle only the best from our winery and the quality speaks for itself. As one of the oldest wineries in the Swartland, we stick to the basics and work as naturally as possible with our fruit. As a member of the Swartland Independent Movement, we strive for minimum intervention in fruit-driven wines that express the terroir.
Bechenbauer is one of the most graceful footballers of all times, he was not only immensely talented but he revolutionized the game. Usually played as a centre back but it was his ability on the ball as he brought ball out of defence into attacks (known as libero) which made him success. He had hugely successful career with both his national team (Germany) and club team (Bayern Munich).
He started his career with SC Munchen youth teams (city rivals of Bayern Munich) but he joined Bayern in 1958 and rest as they say is history. He became a force in Bayern team and Bayern become a force in world football. They won three back to back European titles 1974 to 1976. It was his time with Bayern when he innovated a new position called “Sweeper” playing behind the two central defenders and act as another line of defence while also had to licence to move the ball out of defence in counter attacks. Some of his goals were pure class as he started the move in his own half and finished it in the other.
His international career was nothing but a success, reaching world cup 1966 final and winning the world cup in 1974 beating Netherlands in the final with their “total football” brand. He also win European championship with Germany in 1972. He was not only a great player but a visionary who would go on to have massive success as a coach with Bayern and Germany as well. Towards the end of his career he played in MLS for New York Cosmos and helped popularize the game in the states. His last two seasons were in Germany with Hamburg winning another German league ti