Wine Cellar’s own Jolette Steyn, Head of our Sales and Imports, has just launched her wine label, The Vineyard Party, with two small-batch Sémillon bottlings from the maiden 2018 vintage. Both I’m Your Huckleberry 2018 and Here Be Dragons 2018 are single origin Sémillons from 18-year-old vines on the slopes of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch.
Jolette’s goal is to source biodiverse, sustainably farmed vineyard parcels, whilst working with avant-garde vinification techniques, and applying minimal intervention in the cellar. ‘I wanted to explore the impact that one small tweak in the cellar would have on otherwise similarly handled wines and thus fermented Sémillon in three different ways,’ explains Jolette. She therefore used the following methods:
- Sémillon whole-bunch pressed in a 1-ton basket press, juice fermented in older fill barrels
- Sémillon crushed & destemmed into an open top fermenter, thus fermentation on skins with gentle
press downs to wet the cap.
- Sémillon whole-bunch fermented in an open top fermenter, thus fermentation on skins and stems with
gentle press downs to wet the cap.
After the wines were matured in old oak, blending trials were done and the three portions were blended into what would become two wines – I’m Your Huckleberry and Here Be Dragons.
This is Jolette’s first solo project and her wines have already received praise among the local industry, with I’m Your Huckleberry scoring 92 points and Here Be Dragons scoring 93 points from Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za.
This might be Jolette’s maiden release, but she has years of experience prior to starting this project. She has produced wine across four continents with 15 harvest under her belt, and held winemaking roles at prominent SA estates over the past decade and a half. She has a BSc degree in Oenology and Viticulture from Stellenbosch University, as well as an MSc in Oenology & Viticulture with stints in France, Italy and Spain completing her thesis in viticulture on Garnacha vineyards in Priorat, Spain.
She has built an entire career on the self-proclaimed fact of being a wine geek and is deeply passionate about diversity and sustainability – in the soil, the vineyards, the people and the cellar.