A Brief History of Dwarsrivier and the Cellar

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Historical Timeline

What is the Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor? The Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC) is a unique project in the sense that nowhere in South Africa is there an area as large as this that includes the people, their agricultural and other activities, and an unspoilt natural area, says project co-ordinator Jaco Venter. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) financed the initial work for the project. This was so successful that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) donated R1,5 million to fund the implementation phase over five years.

The Nieuwoudts buy the land from their neighbours, the Du Toits.

The present Nieuwoudt family moves to Dwarsrivier. They start farming with fruit, tobacco and vegetables.

The first table grape vines, Barlinka, are planted by Oom Pollie Nieuwoudt (third generation).

The Cederberg Wilderness is proclaimed (2nd wilderness area in SA).

Cederberg Cellars is registered as a company and the first vines are planted.

The first wine is made on Dwarsrivier.

Cederberg Wines plays a key role in establishing a tourism office in Clanwilliam.

The present winemaker, David Nieuwoudt (fifth generation), takes over the reins on the farm.

Cederberg Wines helps to establish the Cederberg Conservancy.

First replanting begins, replacing some table grape vines with wine grape vines.

Cederberg Wines joins Integrated Production of Wine (IPW).

All fruit trees are removed and Dwarsrivier becomes a wine farm only.

Wines of SA (WOSA) holds its first strategic meeting regarding the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI).

The Western Cape Nature Conservation Board and Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) establish the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC).

15 September: Filming of the WOSA-video at Cederberg Wines.

25 February: Cederberg Wines invites a consultant to evaluate the cellar’s ‘clean water’.

1 August: Cederberg Wines attains BWI membership.

1,1 ha of Viognier and 3,5 ha sauvignon blanc vines are planted.

1,5 ha each of 32-year-old Cabernet sauvignon and Chenin blanc vines are removed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How did you start making wine here at Dwarsrivier?
Before the political changes of the 1990s, wine farming was an income like any other kind of farming, may it be sheep, fruit or fish. The big names in the industry were well known, of course. Up to 1990 the Nieuwoudts focused on fruit, tobacco, vegetables and livestock. During the 1990s, when sanctions were lifted, farming life changed quite radically and many farmers started specialising. Younger farmers, in many cases, faced huge challenges – the whole world had suddenly become their playground and delivery field. In the Cederberg, David Nieuwoudt returned to the land where he grew up and decided to focus on wine – after all, that was what he studied and loved. The year? 1997.

The ‘water story’: What is so interesting about Dwarsrivier’s water?
All the water used on the farm comes from the Dwars River, which originates west of Sneeuberg Mountain, partly on our land. Nothing comes from the Uitkyk area. If we refer to the farm we mean the household water consumption of 29 houses, the holiday resort, the irrigation system for the vineyards and all the cellar water. The holiday resort’s irrigation comes from another source.

What is the Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor?
The Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC) is a unique project in the sense that nowhere in South Africa is there an area as large as this that includes the people, their agricultural and other activities, and an unspoilt natural area, says project co-ordinator Jaco Venter. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) financed the initial work for the project. This was so successful that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) donated R1,5 million to fund the implementation phase over five years.