History of the Farm
The Goose Wine Estate is based in the unique Upper-Langkloof valley, nestled just behind the Outeniqua Mountains on the picturesque Garden Route of South Africa. The name on the Farm’s Title Deed is “Ganzekraal”, which means “Goose Closure” or “Goose Enclave”. The farm and the surrounding area were given the name over a century ago when Wild Geese from the area flew down during the day to rest in the cattle and sheep closures. They would forage on the seeds and pips in the feed, while the animals were out on pasture. This behaviour was especially prevalent during the times of drought.
Now more than 100 years later, Retief Goosen was introduced to partner Dr. Werner Roux and together they started the new company, The Goose Wines. In 1999 the first 6 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon was planted followed by 6 hectares of Shiraz in 2000. Following the success of the first two cultivars planted, the year 2002 saw an additional 6 hectares added to the expanding vineyard, this planting was the popular Sauvignon Blanc. All the varietals planted were decided upon after soil samples and profile holes were sunk to determine the soil types and structures, which allowed to accurately determine proper vine selection.
One can almost say that it was fate that Retief “The Goose” Goosen would introduce the world to the wines of the Upper-Langkloof on a farm called “Ganzekraal”. In March 2007, a flock of “Spur Winged” Geese moved into the area and have made one of the 5 dams on the farm their home. In Afrikaans the birds are known as “Wilde Makou”, Africa’s largest and heaviest species of fresh water Geese.
The maiden vintage of The Goose Expression was the 2005 and The Goose Sauvignon Blanc was the 2008. The Gander Range of wines was released with the 2009 vintage of the Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.
The Upper-Langkloof Valley
Situated 2500ft above sea level on the picturesque Garden Route of South Africa, the Upper-Langkloof Valley runs east/west, north of the Outeniqua Mountains, only 15km from the Indian Ocean. This area, which stretches along the valley for more than 160km, used to be the home ground of Bushmen and Gonagua Hottentots. Today it is the second largest fruit production area in South Africa - specialising in apples and pears, with many other varieties of fruit also grown. It has always been known for its wild and untamed nature. In the 19th century this valley was visited by game hunters from the coastal towns during the winter months to stock up with fresh game meat and hides. The skins were salted and the meat cured in barrels and carted by ox-wagon over the dangerous Outeniqua Mountains to the settlements on the coast.
In the 1840’s farmers settled in this fertile valley to farm cattle, sheep and grain. Later the area was found suitable for apple and apricot farming and soon many farmers started exporting these fruits to Europe. The famous, Appletiser brand, contracted many farmers of the area to supply apples for their juice.
The valley is known for its dry and cold climate, with an average rainfall of between 250mm and 300mm. Strong and cool summer winds rush in on-shore and rise over the 5000ft mountain range cooling the valley even more. These winds bring in cold and moist air which cools the valley during summer to temperatures between 20 to 23 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Karoo bakes away at 40 degrees Celsius. A weather station was installed on the farm in 1993 and it was found that the annual temperature for the valley is a mere 17 degrees Celsius, which is very cold for South Africa, but ideal for growing grapes of great elegance and structure. The soils are from Table Mountain Sandstone and shale combination.
The Outeniqua Mountains with The Goose Wines vineyards in the foreground
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