Friday, December 19, 2008

Media release

Top 100 Status for Warwick – again

Trilogy makes history

With the recent announcement of Wine Spectator’s ‘Top 100’ list for 2009, Warwick has made history with their flagship Bordeaux-style blend, Trilogy, featuring at number 46. Warwick Trilogy scored 93 points in Wine Spectator, the joint highest score ever for a South African Bordeaux-style blend. This is also the first time that a South African Bordeaux-style blend has been included in the highly influential ‘Top 50’ on the Wine Spectator list.

Mike Ratcliffe and the Warwick team have long been champions of the Bordeaux-style blend, having produced the first vintage of Warwick Trilogy in 1986. After more than 21 years of crafting Trilogy, the ongoing accolades continue to bring recognition to this small artisanal family winery.

The ‘Top 100’ announcement shows that Warwick’s philosophy of ‘quality without compromise’ is paying dividends. Mike Ratcliffe reiterated Warwick’s adherence to excellence, saying that this accolade cemented the winery’s assertion that “we should measure our Cape wines against the toughest international standards”.
America’s Wine Spectator magazine, arguably the world’s ultimate guide to wine, uses four criteria for choosing their ‘Top 100’. The first three are: quality, volume and price; but it is the fourth, namely the ‘X-factor’, that is interesting to note. Wine Spectator defines the ‘X-factor’ as ‘excitement, the ability to stimulate and surprise… a wine that is different’. It is this enigmatic factor which Warwick finds particularly desirable.

In addition to this accolade, Warwick Trilogy appeared in influential American wine- and lifestyle magazine, Wine Enthusiast’s ‘Top 100’ Wines of the World in 2007, with a score of 95 points, in position number 5 – the highest position ever for any South African wine.

Warwick Trilogy displays a luscious, perfumed nose, which is also earthy and provocative. The palate abounds with flavours of ripe prunes, raspberry and blackberry, with hints of chocolate, nuts and mocha, and the mouth–feel is silky and soft.

Warwick Trilogy is available nationally at leading restaurants and wine merchants, and retails between R180 and R200 per bottle.

December 2008

Prepared for Warwick Estate by Warwick Estate
Hazell Public Relations Contact: Mike Ratcliffe
Tel 021 851 1563 • Cell 082 557 2968 Tel 021 884 4410 • 083 233 1685

Additional information:

Warwick Trilogy food recommendations:

Roasted veal, pan-seared steak or oven-baked aubergine. Also complements chocolate desserts. Recipes available on request.

Warwick Tasting Centre:

Open 7 days a week:
Monday to Thursday: 10h00 – 17h00
Friday: 10h00 until 18h30 in summer
Saturday and Sunday: 10h00 – 16h00
Cost: R25 per taster
Light lunches served at the tasting centre
Bookings: 021 884 3146 or


After the Anglo Boer war, Colonel Alexander Gordon, from the Warwickshire regiment, bought the farm and renamed it ‘Warwick’ as a tribute to his regiment.

In 1964, the farm, situated on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in the Simonsberg-Stellenbosch ward (today known as ‘Cabernet Country’), was purchased by Stan & Norma Ratcliffe, who soon realized the potential of the terroir and began planting cabernet sauvignon. These vines produced high quality grapes, which were soon in demand from wholesalers and other wineries.

Norma became increasingly interested in the making of wine and began to study the subject. Soon a cellar was in place, and in 1984, the first Warwick vintage was released (a Cabernet Sauvignon). It seemed Norma had the talent for making great wines and production soon increased. Since 1986, Trilogy, a Bordeaux-style blend, has become one of the flagships of the South African wine industry.

Today the farm is still very much a ‘family affair’. Stan and Norma’s son, Mike, a graduate of wine marketing at Adelaide University, is Managing Director of this family winery, while his sister, Jenny, a Cape Wine Master, is Warwick’s Brand Ambassador in Gauteng.

The Wines:

Warwick Estate produces seven wines: five reds and two whites:

· Trilogy: The Estate’s flagship, a multiple award-winning Bordeaux-style blend.
· The First Lady: Named after the Estate’s co-founder and first winemaker, Norma Ratcliffe, the 2007 vintage is 100% cabernet sauvignon.
· Three Cape Ladies: A Cape Blend (a wine that includes at least 25% pinotage), named after three Ratcliffe generations of women: Norma Ratcliffe, daughter Jenny, and grand-daughter Eve Ratcliffe.
· Cabernet Franc: A Cape classic.
· Pinotage: Made from old bush-vines.
· Chardonnay: Subtle wood fermentation and maturation.
· Professor Black: A well-known Sauvignon Blanc, named after the creator of a hybrid peach variety, planted where the sauvignon blanc now grows.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wine Club Garden Party 2008


Thursday, December 04, 2008

The boys were out and about in Johannesburg today celebrating the TOP 100 inclusion by Warwick Trilogy in the Wine Spectator list.

Received by email from the pub: "A day with warwick. Best. Stu, eton, steph, beanie, gk and da-rule"

Friday, November 21, 2008

On Thursday, 20 Nov 2008 the Simonsberg Ward PRO ladies and gents were gathered at Rustenberg Winery and were treated to a tractor ride to visit their famous 'Five Soldiers'

Monday, November 17, 2008

Warwick Trilogy has recently been included at position no 46 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 wines of the world for 2008. Another huge accolade after being in the Wine Enthusiast Top 100 earlier this year at position no 5! Only sad that there are no other South African wines included at this time.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The 'Warwick Team' will be rolling out our new bags in time for the tourist season. Look closely at our plastic and paper bags for thirsty tourists to carry their booty home with them. This is by far the most economical way to get hold of a case of Warwick - as long as you are prepared to forego the obvious consumption benefits. Thanks to Jonathan Cherry for being part of our inspiration. Click here to see the original that we have copied. Love it or hate it - it is cool!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Warwick 'Professor Black' Sauvignon Blanc vineyards for 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We are planting a vineyard in Cape Town!!
In conjunction with the historic Vineyard hotel in Cape Town, the Warwick and Vilafonte teams are planning the creation of a new urban vineyard on this historic site. Here is a cool video, the first of a 3-part before, during and after video archive of the event.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mike & Ronald are spearheading the planting of a new vineyard at the historic Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town


Warwick at the Opici trade show in Florida

The Opici Holiday Show was the best attended Holiday event they have ever put on for there suppliers.  Special thanks to Axel Schug, James Dare, Jonathan Dreyer, and John Zelko who made there way to South Florida to pour and for all of you who participated by having your wines available for the event.  Deanna and I worked the tables for those of you who could not make it and we had a great response. 


Monday, October 06, 2008

Dear Mike,
My son Charles, who has been living in London for the past 10 years, is a red-wine lover and particularly of your Warwick Estate wines. To celebrate his 40th birthday, he recently purchased these two bombs at a charity auction in London. William (right) and James, in the photo, are their twins and the youngest of our seven grandchildren. We thought you might enjoy this promotion of your product.
Kind regards
Len & Esme Greenfield
Vermont, Hermanus

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Team @ Warwick

Top from left: Martin Gebers (Finance Manager) Mike Ratcliffe (Managing Director) Jozua Joubert (Winemaker) Ronald Spies (Viticulturist)
Bottom from left: Anel Lombaard (Wineclub Asst) Colleen Norkie (Logistics Manager) Jani Branders (Hospitality Manager) Nella Jacobs (Accountant)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Warwick Team member: Juno Joubert
Assistant Cellar Master
Come and enjoy our delicious farmhouse cheese and cold meat platters.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wine Families: Generation Next
These scions of great wine dynasties around the world are mindful of tradition but fearless in their pursuit of what's next. Here, writer Richard Nalley profiles the young men and women who are revolutionizing the wine industry.
By Richard Nalley
• Laura Catena argentine ambassador ARGENTINA
Laura Catena, 37, isn't just a practicing emergency-room physician with degrees from Harvard and Stanford; she's also the export manager and a pivotal player at Catena Zapata, her father's groundbreaking Argentine winery. She somehow finds time to make wines under her own label, called Luca, using formerly untapped vineyard sites to produce some of Argentina's top artisanal wines. These include the Luca Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown in a new vineyard that's a dizzying 3,710 feet up in the Andes.
• Vanya Cullen aussie cult fave AUSTRALIA
Vanya Cullen, 45, is one of Australia's most celebrated winemakers. Her role model is her mother, Diana, who was awarded the Order of Australia for her viticultural work. Vanya became Cullen's head winemaker only three years after graduating from Australia's premier wine school, and her skill— in bottlings like the finely balanced Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot—has made her tiny winery a cult favorite.
• Johannes Hirsch screw-cap visionary AUSTRIA
Johannes Hirsch, 34, recently made the brave decision to bottle all Hirsch wines with screw caps, from the less-than-$20 "Veltliner #1" to the spicy, racy $45 Zöbinger Heiligenstein Riesling. It's a stand for quality—no more cork-tainted bottles—like his decision to hold his wines until maturity, often in September, rather than send them out for an easy sale during Austria's spring wine-release hoopla. Hirsch is a serious winemaker, but he isn't humorless—witness his screw-cap monocle at right.
• Yves Cuilleron rhône white specialist FRANCE
In France's Rhône Valley, known for powerhouse reds, winemaker Yves Cuilleron has earned an international following for his minerally Condrieus and perfumed Saint-Joseph whites. Now 43, he acquired Cave Yves Cuilleron from his uncle in 1987, creating, after only three years, wines like his exotic, honeyed Condrieu Les Chaillets. It's made from the same vineyard that supplies part of the blend for Deux C, the groundbreaking transatlantic Viognier he co-produces with California's Cold Heaven Cellars—half of the wine is made in France, half in the United States.
• Jean-Guillaume Prats bordeaux modernizer FRANCE
His family sold Bordeaux's fabled Château Cos d'Estournel in 1998, but fourth-generation scion Jean-Guillaume Prats was asked to stay on. In 2000, at 29, he became CEO, and began working on his vision for a more "modern" wine. Early next year, he will debut an affordable, high-caliber Bordeaux, Goulée, with Cos's owner, Michel Reybier; this year he's working with his father and Hubert de Boüard de Laforest of Château Angélus on a South African joint venture.
• Christophe Sabon old-vine champion FRANCE
In 1991, when 20-year-old Christophe Sabon took over the winemaking at Domaine de la Janasse, the winery his father, Aimé, founded 18 years earlier, it marked the start of Janasse's rise to the top ranks of Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers. Aimé stepped aside to concentrate on the organically farmed vineyards, leaving Christophe free to vinify some of the Rhône's most layered and elegant expressions of Grenache-based reds, like the magisterial Chaupin bottling, harvested from a sandy, tiny-yield vineyard planted in 1912.
• Jérémy Seysess pinot perfectionist FRANCE
Jérémy Seysses grew up at the famed Domaine Dujac, founded by his father Jacques in 1967; now 30, he is increasingly setting its course, using vineyards that include parcels in five grands crus to produce remarkable Burgundies like Dujac's Clos de la Roche. In 2000, father and son founded the négociant Dujac Fils & Père, which Jérémy oversees—when he isn't making wine for Domaine de Triennes, the family property in Provence.
• Laurent Champs champagne master FRANCE
The small estate-based Champagne house of Vilmart was founded in 1890, but only when Laurent Champs took over in 1997 at age 28 did its wines become shockingly good. Champs began fermenting and aging portions of the wine in new oak barrels; he also implemented labor-intensive biodynamic vineyard methods. As a result, Vilmart's primarily Chardonnay Champagnes, like the great Coeur de Cuvée, have a shimmering, silky smokiness that's unmistakable.
• Thomas + Oliver Haag turnaround pros GERMANY
Thomas, 39, and Oliver Haag, 32, are moving beyond the fame their father, Wilhelm, has brought the family's 400-year-old Fritz Haag estate. Oliver—who helped whip well-known producer Wegeler's storied Rheingau estate into shape—now shares winemaking duties at Fritz Haag with his father, creating concentrated Rieslings, like the top-of-the-line Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr. In 1997, Thomas acquired the Schloss Lieser estate, where he'd been the winemaker, and has since returned this Mosel property to its former glory.
• Mihalis Boutaris native-grape expert GREECE
Mihalis Boutaris, 30, uses Greece's great native Xinomavro grape to produce powerful, modern red wines—leading the way in the current Greek wine renaissance. Working with his celebrated winemaker father, Yiannis, at the family's Ktima Kir-Yianni estates, Boutaris has gained international attention for bottlings like the robust, raspberry-tinged Xinomavro-Merlot blend, Yianakohori.
• Philipp Wittmann voice of the rheinhessen GERMANY
Philipp Wittmann wins the German wine trifecta: The 31-year-old fashions delicious dry Riesling and dessert wines from a family estate that dates back to 1663; he's championed obscure grapes such as Albalonga, using it to make a sensuous, luxury-priced dessert wine; and he's been instrumental in bringing the country's Rheinhessen region to international prominence with such Rieslings as his sleek, racy Westhofener Morstein Spätlese.
• Marco Caprai sagrantino savior ITALY
Marco Caprai took charge of his family's Arnaldo Caprai wine estate in 1989 at 21—and within a few years made the sleepy village of Montefalco and its little-known local grape, Sagrantino, famous. His viticultural research revealed that the grape contains more flavor compounds than any other in Italy; his winemaking prowess helped transform that intensely spicy fruit into prized bottlings like the Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni.
• Marco Bernabei vine reviver ITALY
Marco Bernabei is leading Italy into the future by taking it back to its past. The son of famed wine consultant Franco Bernabei, Marco, 28, is a Tuscany-based agronomist with a passion for uncovering the most authentic native vine material—the preeminent Vernaccia of San Gimignano, Grechetto of Todi, and Verdello of Umbria. He's also a sought-after consulting winemaker, working together with his father at wineries like Mormoraia, Castello di Corbara and I Sodi.
• Dirk Niepoort multitasker extraordinaire PORTUGAL
Dirk Niepoort, 41, is a revolutionary in Portuguese wine. The descendent of a centuries-old Dutch port-producing family, Niepoort runs an import-export company with his partners, is one of the leaders of the collective that makes the wonderful Lavradores de Feitoria table wines, oversees his family's top-notch ports, and makes what is arguably Portugal's greatest red, Batuta.
• Sara Pérez catalan heroine SPAIN
In 1981, when she was nine, Sara Pérez's winemaker father dragged the family to live in the mountains of Priorato. A few years later she began helping out in his Clos Martinet winery, and by her early twenties, she had begun to make its wines herself. Now one of Spain's most sought-after consulting winemakers, she produces high-end wines for Catalan producers, as well as her own Venus, a robust Cariñena-Syrah blend that has helped put Spain's Montsant region on the world wine map.
• Ales Kristancic organic modernist SLOVENIA
Ales Kristancic, 37, has done more than anyone to make Slovenia one of the world's most promising wine regions, combining organic farming with the latest technology to create his attention-getting Movia whites, like the acclaimed Veliko Bianco. A blend of Ribolla Gialla, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, it's aged for at least two years in Slovenian oak, a span that would mummify most other whites, yet the Veliko emerges full-bodied, complex and intriguing.
• Telmo Rodriguez grape crusader SPAIN
Telmo Rodriguez, 42, is Spain's leading advocate for the resurrection of native grape varieties. He started early: In 1989, while at the University of Bordeaux, he began helping to make wine at Remelluri, where his father, Jaime, was producing one of the first single-vineyard Riojas. Today Telmo produces a wide range of wines, including his own broodingly dark Rioja, Altos de Lanzaga.
• Alvaro Palacios prodigal son who returned SPAIN
The most renowned Spanish winemaker of his generation, Alvaro Palacios, 41, started his career when his father, Jose, essentially tossed him out of the family winery, Rioja's Palacios Remondo. Palacios headed east and revitalized the Priorato region with his Finca Dofí and L'Ermita, then did the same in Bierzo. In 2000, he was called back to the family winery, where he has remade Palacios Remondo into a top Rioja producer.
• Mike Ratcliffe cape statesman SOUTH AFRICA
Despite being only 32, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Estate is one of South Africa's foremost wine statesmen, leading the charge for a forthcoming label designation, "Cape Blend," for reds containing his country's signature Pinotage grape. At Warwick, which his family founded in 1964, Ratcliffe uses cutting-edge technology like satellite imaging to make wines with an Old World classicism, such as the opulent Cabernet-based Estate Reserve.
• Joe + Steve Dutton pinot pair USA
Joe, 36, and Steve Dutton, 38, grow grapes in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, and cult wineries like Kistler and Patz & Hall vie for their Dutton Ranch fruit. But both brothers, who inherited their holdings from their late father, Warren, also make their own wines. Joe founded Sebastopol Vineyards in 1995, then Dutton Estate in 2002; his Warren's Reserve Pinot Noir is a standout. At Dutton-Goldfield, Steve co-produces silky wines like the Devil's Gulch Pinot Noir.
• Paul Golitzin cabernet virtuoso USA
Though Quilceda Creek in Snohomish, Washington, was known when Paul Golitzin, 35, took over as winemaker in 1992, its rise to fame parallels his career there. His talent may be genetic: Paul's father, Alex, made great Cabernet and founded Quilceda Creek at the urging of his uncle, California legend Andre Tchelistcheff. Quilceda Creek has stayed small—the winery, with its copper-colored dome, built in 2003, produces only about 3,400 cases a year of its dense yet complex flagship Cabernet Sauvignon.
• Chris Figgins washington standard bearer USA
Chris Figgins, 31, makes the wine everyone wants but few ever get. The waiting list at his family's Leonetti Cellar in Walla Walla, Washington, is more than 1,000 names long—all eager to acquire a single bottle of Figgins's monumental Cabernet Sauvignon. But Figgins isn't coasting: Recently he supervised the development of Leonetti's new Loess Vineyard, and he also started planting 55 more acres for a future project he'll oversee.
• Gina Gallo sonoma star USA
Star of television commercials and print ads, Gina Gallo, 38, is one of the most famous winemakers in America, which would have pleased—and surprised—her late grandfather Julio. She and her vineyard manager brother Matt, 42, have redefined global wine giant E & J Gallo. Their Gallo of Sonoma division has given the family its first major presence in high-end wine, earning particular acclaim for the flagship Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Its $60-plus price tag also might have surprised—and pleased—grandpa.
• Jeff + Mark Pisoni vineyard visionaries USA
The Pisoni brothers are turning one of America's great vineyards into one of its great wineries. Their father, Gary, laid the groundwork in 1982, buying unpromising land in the Santa Lucia Highlands and building it into a grand cru–worthy vineyard. But it took winemaker Jeff (left), 26, and business manager–grape grower Mark, 28, to go beyond selling grapes and create a Pisoni label, releasing the voluptuous Estate Pinot Noir in 1998. Then they got to work on dad's new label, Lucia, which debuted in 2000.
• Kirk Venge creative consultant USA
In a short time, Kirk Venge, 29, has become one of Napa Valley's most in-demand winemaking consultants, making stellar wines for clients such as Bacio Divino, Fantesca and Macauley. His father, Nils, provided a good example, both as a consultant and at his own small winery, Saddleback Cellars. The two joined forces for their latest project: the new Venge Vineyards winery, which opened in 2003—a year in which its flagship Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon shows its classically rich, olive-touched character.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Famous Golfer, Jack Nicklaus visited Warwick Estate on Friday 4 July 2008. Pictured here with Warwick MD, Mike Ratcliffe

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hi everyone,
Click on this link to hear the wonederful interview and Cabernet Franc review by Michael Olivier and John Fraser on Classic FM in South Africa.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The first South African Wine Bloggers Braai was held here at Warwick and proved to be a great success!

Lanie Janie and her tasting room team did a fantastic job of ensuring that the wine and evening flowed smoothly and freely.

Ronald our resident 'Braai Master' cooked everyone's meat to perfection, we had a blind tasting and Mike, to everyone's demand, even told the story of Prof Black!

At one stage in the night a guest said that the Prof Black Sav Blanc was so good, it tasted like 'mothers milk'!

It was a great evening and hopefully there will be many more to come!

Take a look at all the photo's:

>>Click Here<<

Thanks for coming everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"The Press"

Monday, March 17, 2008

In the last video, you saw how we got our grapes from vineyard to winery. Well now that they're at the winery - Matt, our assistant winemaker from California, explains what happens next!

And remember:

Vote for this Blog

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We've shown you where and how we pick our grapes. In this fun video, we take a look at how we get our grapes from vineyard to winery!

One of the drawbacks of organic Viticulture.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Thank to all your nominations - we are pleased to announce that the Warwick Blog has made it into the finalists stage of the SA Blog Awards 2008!!

With that in mind, we have one last favour to ask you: Can you please click on the icon below and vote, vote, vote for us!!!

Vote for this Blog

And once you have voted for us, we suggest you give the following blogs in their respective categories, your vote too - they thoroughly deserve it:

South African Weblog of the Year:
SA Rocks

Best Overseas South African Blog

Best SA Blog about Technology/Computers/Web Development

Thanks everyone, have a great day and crack open a great bottle of wine tonight!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

With the Warwick Trilogy being awarded 93 points by Wine Spectator - we felt it was only right that we give her a little tribute!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Warwick proudly played host to an old friend and very important South African dignitary yesterday.

Can you guess who the person in blue is and what role he plays in South African governance?

You may recognize the "First Lady" in the middle of the picture too!

Monday, February 25, 2008

When you're harvesting by hand, the importance of teamwork becomes paramount to creating efficiency!

Take a look:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nominations for the SA Blog Awards 2008 are now open!

We would love it if you could take a few moments of your time to nominate us in the "Best SA Blog about Food & Wine"!

Just click on the icon below to cast your vote:

nominate this blog

While you there - in the spirit of being proudly South African - we recommend that you also vote for these outstanding South African blogs:

SA Rocks

The Cru

Vilafonte Blog

The Pinotage Club

Winefly Selection

Wine Country

They are all a great read, so give them a go and decide for yourself - in the meantime,thanks again for your support!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Welcome to 'Harvest 2008' here at Warwick Wine Estate - here's a video to take you right into the heart of where it all begins : the vineyard!

Monday, February 18, 2008

RonViti takes us through a tasting of the Bush Vines Pinotage - from the vines themselves - take a look!

'Harvest 2008' has begun here at Warwick Wine Estate!

In the words of Ronald our viticulturist (RonViti) , "the grapes are looking great and we are seeing some fantastic, healthy bunches coming in" - we are no doubt very excited about the vintage!

In an effort to bring you closer to the heart of the effort and people involved in creating your favourite Warwick wine - we will be bringing you a series of videos highlighting this years harvest!

You'll see everything from where in the vineyard the grapes came from, the tractors used to transport them, the berry sorting process and you'll even see us filling up the barrels! And who knows - you may even catch a glimpse of our famous "Wedding Cup" in one or two of the videos - in which case there may be some sort of reward (so keep your eyes glued!)!

We hope you find them entertaining and informative - above all we hope that you feel a connection with the estate, the wine and the people who are so passionately involved!

Feel free to comment and ask questions!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Warwick was selected as the 'official' wine for the State Presidents Intternational Investment Council dinner in george in December 2007. Here is a picture of Mike welcoming the president and then a great second picture of the president 'inspecting' the goods - so to speak!
The State president appears 'smitten' with the latest release of
Warwick 'Old Bush Vines' Pinotage which went down a treat!