Journey to the Centre of the Universe Blanc Fumé 2019


“2019 was a completely different vintage and one that I haven’t experienced in South Africa before. Yields were down everywhere in the Overberg. It was dry without extreme temperatures and I believe that these three factors; low yield, low water and moderate temperatures made it very easy for the vines to build sugar without needing to consume the acids in the grapes. Thus I harvested with an alcohol of 14% and a pH of 3.08!

I worked with this low pH by passing my portion from the lower vineyard whole bunch through a peristaltic pump to macerate on the stems for four days in order to raise the pH slightly. The Potassium present in the stems binds with the acid in the juice helping to remove some of the acid from solution. This portion I then pressed to a 600 litre plastic egg while the portion from the upper, more tropical block I whole bunch pressed and sent to 500L barrel.

After malolactic fermentation the pH came to 3.3 and the combination of these two portions create a wine not orange, but with delicate skin contact phenolics and great complexity. This wine I believe will only improve with some time in bottle.”

Mark Stephens
Winemaker and Viticulturist
The Root Wine Company

23 in stock


The name “Journey to the Centre of the Universe” is the story of how I came to live in the Overberg and start making Sauvignon blanc. I first discovered wine while working on biodynamic farms in California. After several months in the vegetable fields, I was asked to help out in the vineyards and when harvest came along, I moved into the winery and became hooked on the complex balance between art and science that is winemaking. Mid harvest, I enrolled in the Viticulture and Oenology course at Stellenbosch University and have never looked back!

Part of the final year course at Stellenbosch involves a six month internship at a winery and I was fortunate enough to join Adi Badenhorst and Jasper Wickens on Kalmoesfontein for one hell of an eye opening, action packed experience in which I learned lessons I still recite eight years later. I became completely indoctrinated in the Swartland ethos and Chenin blanc. Aware of the breadth of the wine world, I felt I needed to experience the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of both climate and culture and so the following year I found myself working in the Hemel en Aarde valley making Pinot noir and Chardonnay.

There was something about the Overberg that just gripped me; the smell of cool, salty breezes off the ocean, the incredible greenness and the ability to go surfing when we finished work early inspired me to explore this region more and I did. In 2017 a friend in wine, Wade Sander’s family bought the farm Brunia in the Sondagskloof and on my first visit I knew there was something special about this site. I had never so much as thought I would ever make a Sauvy but this place, the texture of the soils, the presence of the mountain, the energy of the site spoke to me and then it was decided. I would then move to the Overberg and start making Sauvignon blanc.