Aerial view over Iona to Atlantic ocean

the
iona story

South Africa, Cape Boland and Iona maps

At the Southern tip of Africa, along the Cape South Coast is South Africa’s coolest climate wine region, Elgin Valley. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at an altitude of 420m along the Southern ridge lies the unique Iona vineyards. Surrounded by 3000 ha of the UNESCO certified Kogelberg Biosphere, which contains 1600 plant species, making it the most florally diverse region of the planet, per unit area.

A unique phenomenon happens at Iona. The combination of the short distance from the freezing Atlantic Ocean and the rapid increase in altitude causes the prevailing summer South East wind to roll across the vines, forming misty clouds that blanket the farm on warm days.

This protects the grapes from the African sun – allowing filtered sunlight into the canopy – resulting in SLOW ripening with perfect acidity, moderate alcohol and beautifully developed flavours.

Mist over Iona
Graph depicting average temperature comparisons

Our permanent weather station confirms we are Winkler 2 with a few notable advantages:

Half the rainfall of Burgundy in the growing season.

A relatively warm spring and autumn with no frost, reliable budding and a longer ripening period from flowering to harvesting.

No more than 30 hours above 30° in any growing season. The vines never shut down due to high temperatures.

Iona is situated on the last remaining portion of an ancient river valley formed during the post-glacial geomorphic activity. The soils are essentially gravel beds derived from decomposed Table Mountain sandstone, sedimentary deposits and quartzites.

The soil provides the opportunity for the vines to penetrate the deep clay underlay providing moisture and eliminating water stress.

Sandstone, sedimentary deposits and quartzites
Collage of chickens, guinea fowl and purple flowers

We own and farm all our vineyards as we believe GREAT WINES are grown in the vineyard.

Composting, physical weed removal, use of beneficial insects and bacteria, raptor poles, vine collars, cover crops between the rows and ground covers below the vines are some of the SUSTAINABLE TECHNIQUES WE EMPLOY AT IONA.

THE WINEMAKER IS THE CUSTODIAN OF THE FRUIT

Iona is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. We have invested in state-of-the-art equipment such as the latest WILLMES PRESS, BUCHER DELTA OSCILLYS DE-STEMMER.

A deep trust in the way we farm, lends us to adopt natural winemaking practices in the cellar with minimum use of sulphur, commercial yeasts, enzymes, and filtration.

We aim to make WINES THAT PORTRAY THE UNIQUENESS OF EACH VINTAGE celebrating a true sense of place without over playing the winemaking hand.

Collage of winemakers, grape harvesting and barrel rolling
Iona family in front of large cellar doors

People are an integral part of our success. We have 20 families living on the farm with up to 35 years of service. All vineyard practices are done by hand. WORKERS ARE SHAREHOLDERS and receive pension funds, education and social support.

JUNE, JULY & AUGUST

Sauvignon Blanc is blended and made ready for bottling. Bottling proceeds in late July. Other blended red wines are prepared for bottling. Compost applied to vine berms and pruning begins.

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER

Budburst followed by shoot selection and suckering. Cover crops are mowed to aid vineyard management and spray programme commences.

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

Vineyard management continues. Leaf breaking is practised in select vineyards to aid penetration of sunlight and air. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and One Man Band wines are blended.

JANUARY

We wrap up the spray programme allowing a broad interval before harvest. Vineyard maintenance includes green harvesting to reduce crop levels and ensure concentration and quality. Previous vintage of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is bottled.

FEBRUARY

Preparations for the onset of harvest. Vineyard maintenance can include topping of vines if necessary. Bottling continues.

MARCH

All necessary bottling is completed by mid-March to make way for the onset of the Sauvignon Blanc harvest. Chardonnay harvested and straight into barrel for natural ferment. Pinot Noir racked into barrel.

APRIL

Harvesting continues, now including other red varietals and a great deal of cellar activity.

MAY

Our harvest is concluded and One Man Band components are racked into barrel to mature. Sauvignon Blanc rests in tank on the fine lease. Post-harvest irrigation for all vineyards, if rain is not timeous. Vineyards ploughed and cover crops sown.

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