Lanzerac Best on the Block at Stellenbosch Vineyard Block Competition

Along with an extensive list of accolades for its wines, Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch has recently been recognized as producing the best Pinotage vineyard block in the region.

Lanzerac viticulturist, Danie Malherbe at the winning vineyard block
Lanzerac viticulturist, Danie Malherbe at the winning vineyard block

This was announced at the annual Stellenbosch Vineyard Block Competition awards ceremony, which is organized by VinPro and regarded as the crème de la crème for viticulturists in the wine industry.

The passion and dedication that goes into tending such a prized vineyard block is thanks to viticulturist Danie Malherbe, who has been working at Lanzerac since 2008. Danie bases his success in the vineyards with his simplistic philosophy, which is respect, modesty and fairness. He firmly believes that by applying these three principles you’ll never be disappointed. With this philosophy he is able to execute the vineyard management by means of detailed planning as well as implementing attainable goals and teamwork.

Now in its 40th year the competition gives recognition to wine grape growers who apply the best viticultural practices in their vineyards, thus making a valuable contribution to the industry. Regions who were eligible for entry for the Stellenbosch regional competition included Stellenbosch, Durbanville, Constantia, Helderberg, Elgin and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The blocks are judged by a panel of recognized vineyard experts who visit each block as part of the judging process. Each block is scored based on various aspects of the establishment as well as the management of the block. This aids them in selecting the top three finalists, and eventually the winner.

The theme for this year’s competition was Premium Pinotage, older than five years. Lanzerac received the winning title for its Pionier Pinotage vineyard. An exceptionally healthy 20-year-old block, with no signs of disease or leaf roll virus were some of the key factors the panel took into account when making their decision. Other factors included excellent maintenance, good development, perfect trellising as well as even ripening throughout the block.

Danie’s vineyard practices for this specific block are all aimed at achieving the perfect balance between the growth and yield. The block does not have lush foliage resulting in increased sunlight penetration. Soil samples are taking every three years to determine the well-being of the soil, whilst leaf samples are taken annually to determine the type and quantity of fertilizers needed. Drip irrigation takes place on a scheduled programme, after determining the exact amount of water required to nurture this premium block. These are just a handful of the practices he applies to this champion block, which has simultaneously resulted in an award-winning wine.

This latest accolade adds further credibility to Lanzerac’s Pinotage wines. Not only did Lanzerac bottle the first Pinotage in the world, but the industry has also already rated this wine as one of the best. The Lanzerac Pinotage 2013 received the JF Hillebrand Trophy for the Best Pinotage at the 2015 Michelangelo International Wine Awards and the Pionier Pinotage 2012 was awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2015 Veritas Wine Awards.

When he’s not in the vineyards you’ll find Danie unwinding at home with his wife of seven years, Jani, their two-month-old son, Gideon Rossouw and their three furry companions, Leila, Rambo and Tessa.

‘Our work in making the perfect Lanzerac wine begins in the vineyard, and to be recognized by the industry as having the best is certainly a humbling experience,’ says Danie.

For more information contact Lanzerac on 021 886 5641 or visit

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