THE CELLAR

The Winemaking
 
One of the results of an organic approach is the development of strong, healthy wild yeasts on the berry skins, which means inoculation with commercial yeasts to induce fermentation can be avoided. These ‘native’ yeasts are integral to the flavours and characteristics that give the wines their site-specific signature.
 
All grapes are hand-picked and sorted, and each variety is separately vinified before being blended. The reds are cold-soaked for a few days, then fermented in bins for a period of extra skin contact before being pressed. The juice is then transferred to barrels for malolactic fermentation. Each wine spends about eight months in old small French oak barrels, with less than 20% comprising new wood. The whites are immediately pressed after harvest, and the juice is transferred to stainless-steel tanks or 500L plastic eggs for fermentation over eight months. The final red and white blends spend another four months in barrel and tank respectively before being bottled.  
The winemaking complies with the rigorous guidelines set by the Swartland Independent Producers (SIP) where the wines must be naturally produced and reflect the true sense of origin.
 
Organic Protocol
 
In compliance with very strict Organic legislation, no chemical disinfectants or soaps are used to clean any equipment used to make the wine. Instead, citric acid and sulphur in water (both organic, naturally occurring compounds) are used to clean all presses, bins, hoses, tank and general equipment before and after use, as well as the cellar itself. Only water is used in between red and white wine processing. 
 
Our Cellar
 
In 2016, Billy decided that it was time for NATIVO to have its own cellar on the farm so that the grapes could go directly from vine to barrel. Using old shipping containers, the cellar was built on a hill, submerged in the characteristic red-clay soil of the farm. From a distance, it looks like just a hill next to the vineyard, exactly the impression he was hoping for. The purpose of this design is to create a sustainable cellar that uses the natural coolness of the underground to keep the environment at an ideal temperature for winemaking. The sun peeks through into the cellar only at one entry point during the day, making sure the area gets ample light without the need for electrical lighting. On the “roof” of the cellar, the clay soil supports the growth of an indigenous, drought-resistant ground-creeper that grows even in the absence of water. This further deters the sunlight from heating the winemaking environment, as well as maintains the natural ecosystems around the cellar. 
While still in its infancy, the hope is that the future will allow the installation of solar panels to power winemaking machinery, and the use of only naturally purified borehole water for winemaking. The goal is to create a completely self-sustainable cellar that not only has a minimal impact on the environment, but that is artistic and modern. 

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