The look of Stellenbosch wine estate Mulderbosch has gone from pleasantly pedestrian to barefoot elegant with its launch of The Tasting Room, newly transformed into a relaxed indoor-outdoor contemporary space, where the flagship wine producer’s vintages meet rustic gourmet pizzas.
As part of the extensive revamp and revitalisation of the Mulderbosch wine estate, The Tasting Room was designed by Cape Town-based dhk Think Space, the uber-chic architectural firm credited with such stand-out projects as the Cape Town International Convention Centre, trendy Cape Town hotel 15 On Orange and Delaire Graaf Winery and Restaurant, as well as numerous international works.
Created as a destination rather than just another place to pull in and taste wine, The Tasting Room’s atmosphere is simple yet chic, and invites wine and food lovers to lounge and linger. It’s a beautiful yet completely non-snobby place to relax with family and friends over good wine, with pizzas and cheese platters adding to the experience. Kid-friendly touches are everywhere, from bean bags to comfortable seating areas inside and out. Earthy background colours are accented by warm shades of plum, burgundy and lime, and an occasional splash of red, inspired by Mulderbosch’s signature crimson seal.
Thin, flatbread-type pizzas with fresh toppings have been carefully selected to complement the range of Mulderbosch wines, and are cooked rustic-style in an outdoor wood-burning oven. Ingredients like buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, white anchovies and fresh figs turn pizzas into artisanal delights; the perfect complement to the estate’s award-winning wines.
The Tasting Room extends outside with wooden decking and landscaped pockets to relax, play and eat while enjoying the panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards and rolling Stellenbosch Hills, as well as two professional bocce courts, where guests can play the Italian version of boules.
Serious wine connoisseurs can opt to sit at the Tasting Counter, where knowledgeable staff members offer detailed tastings. There are a variety of other drinks to choose from, including Italian coffees, and for the guys who don’t drink wine, Mulderbosch offers &Union beer by the bottle.
The renovated Tasting Room represents just one of many recent changes at Mulderbosch. Since it was acquired by California-based investment group Terroir Capital in 2011 from the Ben Truter Trust, Mulderbosch has been the scene of extensive reinvigoration, with infrastructure upgrading, knowledge sharing and new talent. In December 2011, the estate appointed Adam Mason as winemaker and Chrianto Oosthuizen as general manager. Before joining Mulderbosch, Mason was the highly respected winemaker at Klein Constantia for eight years, and Oosthuizen spent nearly two decades at Neil Ellis Wines, sharpening his finance, marketing, personnel and production management skills.
Terroir Capital, which boasts an impressive portfolio of best-in-class wine assets worldwide, has taken a keen interest in South African wines. Founding and managing partner Charles Banks was first introduced to the South African winelands in 2008 by New York-based Mulderbosch importer Andre Shearer, CEO of Cape Classics, and Banks was immediately smitten.
“Not only were we convinced that South African wines have huge untapped global potential, but right away, we felt a synergy with the Mulderbosch ethos and brand,” says Banks. “The estate has such a great reputation in the U.S. – in fact, it has played a pioneering role in opening American eyes to quality South African wine. We felt that with more resources, it could really be taken to the next level, so here we are: thrilled to have one foot now firmly planted on South African soil!”
Banks has a special interest in chenin blanc, and plans to add site specific single vineyard chenin blancs to the Mulderbosch product offering. He is investing further in this varietal, both by laying the groundwork in the vineyards and by enlisting winemaker Andy Erickson of boutique Napa Valley winery Screaming Eagle to consult with the Mulderbosch management team. Banks was formerly a partner in this tiny cult wine estate, which produces some of the most sought after wine in the U.S. Mulderbosch winemaker Mason already knows the Banks/Erickson approach firsthand, as he spent the 2008 Californian harvest at Screaming Eagle, working with them.
In the past year, Mulderbosch has made comprehensive improvements to the vineyards as well as the winery, for both red and white production. These upgrades include new cooling equipment for white wines, new tanks for smaller batch red production and improved standards for hygiene and handling of fruit. “It’s hard to convey how much plotting and planning goes into an excellent bottle of wine!” says Banks. “Why should our Tasting Room be any different? We think that this simple yet carefully considered space is the elegant reflection of a flagship winery, and perfectly represents the Mulderbosch brand.”
The Tasting Room at Mulderbosch is open Mondays to Sundays, 10 am to 6 pm. For more details view www.mulderbosch.co.za or call 021 881 8140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @mulderboschv