Charles Hopkins has been at De Grendel since the very beginning of winemaking on the Durbanville farm in 2005, when Sir David Graaff lured him away from Graham Beck with an irresistible offer to head up winemaking, and to design and build his own cellar. Charles is a lifelong student of wine and even after 30 years’ experience in the industry and multiple local and international accolades, he remains always curious to learn more on his winemaking journey.
In November 2019, he achieved a major milestone on this journey, with the award of his first five-star rating in the Platter’s South African Wine Guide, for the 2017 Elim Shiraz from De Grendel – a wine that is especially close to his heart.
Charles was born in Somerset West and grew up in Bredasdorp and Strand. He did his national army service after finishing school and then studied winemaking at Elsenburg before joining the old Union Wines, now DGB, and then Graham Beck. He is passionate about the process of making wine and finds the impact of soil, climate and viticulture practices on the end product especially fascinating. His other passion is helping young winemakers on their own journeys, and he has mentored more Cape Winemakers’ Guild protégés than any other Guild member.
Charles has been involved in all facets of winemaking in South Africa and has extended his learning by working two vintages overseas, one in France and one in California, as well as regular study tours to other winemaking countries. He has served the industry as a board member of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild and various producer associations such as the Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage Associations. His wines have achieved gold and double gold, and scores of 95 and more, in local and international competitions and wine ratings.
Fruit yield vineyard experiment done. Crushed. Four days cold maceration. Alcoholic fermentation with punch-down, pressed and transferred to second fill barrels. Malolactic fermentation in barrels, 12 months’ wood maturation.
Crushed, 18 hours skin contact. Settling. Fermentation for 10 days in third fill barrels. 110 days lees contact in barrel. Stabilisation and bottling.
Hand-picked fruit, nourished by the shale soils of the Ceres Plateau, was crushed before undergoing three days of cold maceration on the skins, after which it was fermented in stainless steel tank for approximately six days with gentle pneumatic punch-downs. The wine was then carefully basket pressed and transferred to second fill French oak for malolactic fermentation on the fine lees, after which it was moved into other second and third fill French oak barrels for a maturation period lasting 12 months.
Hand-picked fruit, nourished by the shale soils of the Ceres Plateau, was crushed before
undergoing three days of cold maceration on the skins, after which it was fermented
in stainless steel tank for approximately six days with gentle pneumatic punch-downs.
The wine was then carefully basket pressed and transferred to second fi ll French oak for
malolactic fermentation on the fi ne lees, after which it was moved into other second and
third fi ll French oak barrels for a maturation period lasting 12 months.
High quality Sauvignon Blanc from the Darling region was crushed and left on the skins for
six hours before the juice was gently removed for settling. Fermentation was then conducted in first and second fi ll French oak, after which the wine was matured ‘sur lie’ in the same barrels, undergoing weekly battonage for a period of 100 days, before blending and bottling.
Hand-picked fruit, nourished by the shale soils of the Ceres Plateau, was crushed before
undergoing three days of cold maceration on the skins. It was then fermented in a stainless
steel tank for approximately six days with gentle pneumatic punch-downs. The wine
was then carefully basket pressed and transferred to 2nd fill French oak for malolactic
fermentation on the fine lees, after which it was moved into other 2nd and 3rd fill French
oak barrels for a maturation period lasting 12 months.
Combination of Darling and Durbanville fruit. Hand-picked. Destalked. Skin contact.
Pressing and settling. Transfer into two second-hand barrels for fermentation. Battonage.
Matured for a total of 110 days in oak. Stabilised and bottled.
The grapes were hand-picked in Ceres and transported to De Grendel. Destalking. Cold
soak for 4 days. Fermentation. Pressing in basket press. Malolactic in barrels. Maturation in
barrels. Filtration and bottling.
The growing conditions of these grapes are continental - they come from high altitude vineyards, 950 metres above sea level. Destalked, skin-contact, pressing, settling, barrel fermentation, stabilisation and bottling. Tasting Notes: A unique expression of fruit from continental growing conditions. Great complexity supported by oak, with flavours of asparagus and gooseberry, balanced by a firm acidity.
The fruit was picked from the Witzenberg region. Destalked, 4 days cold maceration followed by alcoholic fermentation and basket-press. Transferred into new barrels for malolactic fermentation. Transferred into second and third fill barrels for maturation, followed by filtration and bottling. Tasting Notes: The pure expression of Pinot Noir with a combination of flavours of black and red fruit. Slight fynbos spiciness supported by oak and natural acidity.
Hand-picked, crushed, cold skin contact for two days. Fermentation for nine days. Pressed with a basket press. Malolactic fermentation in new and second fill barrels. Maturation for 13 months in new, first and second fill barrels. Bottled without filtration. Tasting Notes: Bright red colour. Flavours of fynbos, spiciness, earthiness -supported by oak. Medium structure supported by natural firm acidity. Lingering aftertaste ensuring longevity.
The grapes come from a selected block - the Amandelboord - and were picked at perfect balance between flavour, sugar and acid. Gentle crushing and skin contact, draining, settling, racking, fermentation. Lees contact, stabilisation and bottling. Tasting Notes: A combination of two of the prominent Sauvignon Blanc styles in South Africa, pyrazines and thiols. Flavours range from gooseberries to winter melon and kiwi fruit. This wine finishes with a soft but firm natural acidity.
The fruit originates from Witzenberg (Ceres), 950 metres above sea level. Shale-type soils. Due to the cool conditions, long moderate ripening time ensures a complex wine with exotic fruit. Hand-picked, crushed, cold skin contact for two days. Fermentation for nine days. Pressed with a basket press. Malolactic fermentation in new and second fill barrels. Maturation for 13 months in new, first and second fill barrels. Bottled without filtration. Tasting note: Bright red colour. Flavours of fynbos, spiciness, earthiness - supported by oak. Medium structure supported by natural firm acidity. Lingering aftertaste ensuring longevity. Drink this wine in 5 years.
100% Sauvignon Blanc A selection from the Amandelboord vineyard. The grapes were hand-picked, had 18 hours skin contact and were then pressed before settling. Fermentation took place at 14 degrees C for 20 days, followed by 100 days of lees contact before stabilization and bottling. 40 cases of this wine were sold at the 2010 Auction.
From the highest vineyard on our farm at 350 metres above sea level, the fruit is destalked into a 7 ton wood cask where it underwent four days of cold maceration and inoculation. The skins were gently punched down, basket-pressed and put straight into new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then transferred into 3rd fill barrels for 13 months of maturation. Tasting note: Bright red colour. On the nose there are flavours of pine needles, earthiness & minerality. This is balanced by firm, natural acidity, and the older oak maturation ensures soft tannins with elegance and promising long ageing potential.
The grapes were hand-picked from a selected area in a vineyard block. After being destalked, the fruit received 18 hours skin contact followed by a 3 day settling period. The wine was blended with a dash of Semillon, underwent cold fermentation and a stirring of lees, after which it was stabilized and bottled. Tasting note: Cool growing conditions ensure asparagus and gooseberry flavours on the nose. The balance of crisp acidity and layers of fruit enhances complexity on the palate.
Winemaking Notes: Separately vinified then blended and fermented in two barrels. In barrel for 120 days with frequent batonage. Tasting Notes: A wine that expresses our unique soil and climate on the farm. Typical Durbanville fruit with great balance between lemongrass, granadilla and rounded off with soft, vanilla flavours of the barrels.
Winemaking Notes: The grapes came from thirty-two year old bush vines with a low yield, resulting in concentrated fruit. Pressed in a basket press, the wine was made in a punch-down method and matured for 18 months in new French oak. Tasting Notes: Ripe with sweet tannins, big concentration from the old low-yield bush vines. Cabernet / cassis, black fruit and great longevity.
The grapes were hand picked, cluster selected and destalked in open fermenters and vinified in a punch down method. At the end of fermentation, the wine was basket pressed and underwent malolactic in new French oak barrels and matured in 3rd fill French barrels. Tasting note: Growing at 350 metres altitude and influenced by the breezes of the Atlantic Ocean, the flavours resonate in pine needle forest, roasted cherries and nuts.
The grapes were hand picked and destalked and after 6 hours of skin contact, the skins were pressed, inoculated and at 15? Brix, transferred to 225 litre oak barrels where fermentation was completed. Matured in oak for 120 days then racked, stabilised and bottled. Tasting note: A wine that expresses a true cool region and the uniqueness of Durbanville soil, with well integrated flavours of lemongrass and citrus, supported by oak undertones.
Grapes from the Elim Ward, traditionally vinified, punched down, basket press and matured in used barrels. 60 cases were sold at the 2006 Auction. Tasting Notes This cool region Shiraz reveals complex characters of spices, Cape fynbos and white pepper.
Grapes from the Elim ward were traditionally vinified, punched down, basket pressed and matured in used barrels. Tasting Note: This cool-region Shiraz reveals complex characteristics of spices, Cape fynbos and white pepper.
Handpicked from ocean facing vineyards, 5 hours skin contact and then pressed. 60% tank fermented, 40% barrel fermented. Tasting Note: Light straw in color with green tint, big tropical fruit characters on the nose that carry through on palate. A light wood component adds to the complexity of this wine, that ends with a fresh, dry finish.
94% Shiraz, 6% Viognier. The grapes were picked mid-march 2003; both varietals were crushed and fermented together. Made in an aerated pump-over method, pressed, malolactic fermentation and 13 months French oak barrel maturation. Tasting note: A true expression of the blend with spicy Shiraz flavours, supported by the apple and peachy flavours of Viognier. This is our second vintage of this unique blend which originates from northern Rhone - one of the most fascinating wine styles in the world.
95% Shiraz, 5% Viognier - Grapes were harvested together Northern-Rhone style and fermented dry on the skins during the punch-down period. Malolactic fermentation in tanks, after which the wine was pumped into small barrels for 13 months and then filtered and bottled. Tasting note: Prominent Shiraz character with spicy organic flavours. The addition of Viognier provides a slightly sweet dimension which lifts the Shiraz. Lots of fruit on the palate with a long aftertaste. Drink now to 2007.
Typical Cabernet Franc from Firgrove, with characteristic aromas and flavours of violets, pencil shavings and black berries expressed in great balance with the French oak.