While men may dream different dreams, they are driven by the same quest: to reach for, and to accomplish perfection. No two pursuits bare the truth of this more than the perfect round of golf and the perfect bottle of wine. Ernie Els' life has mirrored a passion for excellence, which has been clearly reflected in his exceptional sporting achievements. His focus, discipline and commitment have been the foundation of his success, and these factors are evident in his quest to produce premium wine.
As one of South Africa's leading ambassadors and one of the most recognizable faces in the world of sport, it is befitting that Ernie chose Stellenbosch to produce his wines. In 1999 the concept of Ernie Els Wines was born. With the help of award-winning winemaker, Louis Strydom, they produced the maiden 2000 vintage of Ernie Els Signature - a ‘classic’ Bordeaux blend. The synergy between the wine and Ernie’s ‘classic’ golf swing were apparent. The intention from the outset was to focus on delivering a quality product that could hold its own in the company of the world’s finest wines.
During 2004, a beautiful 72-hectare property on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain was chosen, and the home of Ernie Els Wines was established. It was a natural choice as these vineyards had produced the fruit that was sourced for all previous vintages of the Ernie Els Signature blend. With the acquisition of land, the wheels were set in motion to create one of the most exciting venues within the South African wine industry.
Located on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain within Stellenbosch’s infamous ‘Golden Triangle’, the majority of vineyards are north-facing with rows running in an east-west direction resulting in the optimal utilization of sunlight. The Cape’s Mediterranean climate, with approximately 650mm rainfall per annum combined with hot summers and close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, results in cooling sea breezes that regulate and keep temperatures low. This in-turn extends the ripening period. The result of this is rich wines with warmer fruit flavors. The soils contain scully formations with oak-leaf and clay components on top. Deeper within there is a considerable amount of granite. There are six varietals grown and nurtured on the property; Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdo.