The Bosman Family have a history of choosing a different path, of challenging themselves to find a solution in the unexpected. So, at the turn of the century, when climate change was becoming a reality and it was evident that the Cape Winelands would soon become a much hotter and dryer place, Petrus Bosman struck out in search of an alternative to the traditional French varietals that have been grown at the Cape for centuries.

Climate Change - Petrus Bosman

Consulting local academics in the agricultural field linked him with Palermo University in Sicily, a wine growing area and a location most aligned with the Western Cape’s climate. There he found Nero d’Avola, a popular varietal planted prolifically on this volcanic island in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern tip of Italy. He managed to bring back a few cuttings and after many years of trials and propagation, the Bosmans planted their first vineyard.

Climate Change - Nero Vineyard

In 2014, in celebration of their patience and conscientiousness, Petrus and his family harvested the grapes from this vineyard themselves.

The next challenge was for winemaker Corlea Fourie. There was no recipe, no tradition or heritage behind the style or vinification of Nero in South Africa, because it was, of course, the first such vineyard on African soil. So her approach was a studied, careful one, allowing the grapes to express themselves, patiently monitoring the wine’s progress in a selection of oak barrels.

Climate Change - Corlea Winemaker

Over the years vineyard manager PD Bosman has developed a protocol for managing the Nero vineyards. Additional trellising ensures sufficient air flow around the bunches to prevent disease and sun exposure to ensure optimum ripeness while bunch-thinning restricts the yield and improves quality. Irrigation is kept to an absolute minimum, yet this varietal performs very well in the hot, dry summers on the farm.

The result is an elegant, medium-bodied wine with fresh berry flavours and a hint of pepper. The Bosman Nero d’Avola is unique. It cannot be compared directly with anything else: it represents African innovation and modernity, yet of course it is a red wine in all of the traditional, historic sense. It is a wine to be savoured, a wine to challenge the status quo, yet a companiable wine that will both impress and inspire.

Climate Change - Bottles of Nero

This year we celebrate the 10th vintage of Nero. The current vintage boasts earthy, savoury notes and ripe berry flavours. Fine, silky tannins and a refined acidity make it the perfect wine to pair with a variety of food dishes.

Nero 10 Year Celebration

But the Bosmans did not stop with Nero. For a number of years, they have been experimenting with new wine varietals in an effort to mitigate the impact of climate change. The wine industry needs heat tolerant, disease resistant vines and the Bosmans are at the forefront of propagating varietals that will meet this challenge.

Early ripening varietals are arguably the best option because they require a shorter irrigation period and reach optimum ripeness before the heavy heatwaves set in. In addition, disease resistant varietals require minimal spraying for mildew and therefore are much kinder to the environment.

After several years of experimenting with several varietals, by growing them and then producing small samples of wine, we have whittled our test vines down to 8 varietals.

Some grafted cuttings of these clones have been given to private wine growers and can soon be produced to blend in with other well-known varietals to add flavour and volume. So in time, we might be able to buy weird sounding wines like Solaris, Muscaris and Souvignier Gris from our local liquor store. Watch this space!

ABOUT BOSMAN WINES

THE BOSMAN FAMILY HAVE BEEN VINE GROWERS IN WELLINGTON FOR 8 GENERATIONS, THEIR PROUD HERITAGE FORMING THE BEDROCK FROM WHICH INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY ARE A NATURAL PROGRESSION.

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