Radford Dale was founded in 1998 when Ben Radford and Alex Dale first made wines together. We believe in combining innovation with a healthy respect for tradition. In other words, our approach is old plus new, and the best of both worlds.
We specialise in the mountainous viticultural sub-regions of the Helderberg area in Stellenbosch, Elgin, Hemel en Aarde in Walker Bay and the Perderberg area in the Swartland. This is a fancy way of saying that we work with grapes from all of these areas – the right grapes for the right wines (rather than growing all the fruit on our property).
We believe winemaking is all about individuality. We also believe strongly in the Cape’s ability to produce great wines with inimitable character. Just like the people who live here. We want our chosen varieties to express the extraordinary array of terroirs that nurtured them – with precious little intervention from us. This sense of “place” is often lost in modern winemaking, where too much emphasis is focused on commercialism, medals and other frilly stuff imposed by the winemaker or, worse still, by the marketing department. We want to give our wines a chance to express their own individuality. How? By working as naturally as possible in the vineyards, employing traditional methods, and manipulating things as little as possible in the cellar.
Today, Jacques de Klerk is in charge of all our viticulture and winemaking, roving the Western Cape and beyond in search of new vineyards and terroirs. If you want the best wine in every bottle, you need to grow your vines in the best area for the task. That’s why we don’t grow all the grapes on our property. Take top-notch Pinot Noir. Our area is a bit too warm for these cool climate grapes to produce the best Pinots, so instead we focus on co-managing parcels of the best vines with growers in Elgin, because this area has the right conditions.
We handle our grapes with care and we have honed our vinification techniques over the years in order to allow our wines to exhibit the natural qualities and characteristics of the vineyard through spontaneous fermentation in smaller barrels or vats, using whole berry fermentation to avoid harsh tannins and the need for fining. We pick at the right time to take advantage of the natural acidity in our grapes, thus eliminating the need to acidify or use any additives while also achieving restrained alcohol levels and freshness in our wines. We are also a low sulphur winery across all of our wines and we exclusively bottle under screwcap. Each wine reflects the environment we’ve strived to reflect from the outset, and retains all the qualities of elegance, purity and character that come from the right grapes, grown in the right way.