After graduating from Stellenbosch University in 2005, Donavan spent the next two years gaining experience and getting stuck into harvests around the world. On his return to South Africa in 2007, his next stint was a season in the Swartland, assisting none other than Eben Sadie. It was here where he got the inspiration from the Mediterranean varietals to make wines under his own label.
Donovan started out by focussing on just two wines – a white and a red. With fruit sourced from various vineyard sites, these remain the Rall Wines flagships. The winemaking philosophy is kept simple and production remains small. Complimenting the Red and White now are a Cinsault, Cinsault Blanc and Grenache Blanc. Now into the third and second vintage respectively, Donovan has added two single site wines, a Syrah and Chenin Blanc, named after his first child, his daughter Ava.
Working closely with growers in the Swartland and Stellenbosch to secure the best possible fruit at the optimal ripeness and balance is the most important and first step in making the Rall Wines. The vineyards are chosen on a combination of factors but the 2 most important aspects are soil tipe and age of the vines. The hands off wine making approach that is followed is only possible if the vines are low yielding and the growth is in balance. This also has effect that no acidification and additions of yeast or nutrients needs to be done in the cellar.
In a short space of time Donovan Rall has established himself as one of the very best winemakers in South Africa.