When the Milner family bought the historic farm that now houses Natte Valleij Wines in 1969 it was a run-down winery that had not produced any wines since the 1950s. The location caught the eye of Sir Mordaunt Milner, a famed South African horse breeder, who saw great potential in this site on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg mountain, just outside of Stellenbosch.
That potential was as an equine farm, however, and the site went on to breed some of South Africa’s best racehorses for 30 years. Finally, in 2005, the horses were led away and the barrels were once again rolled into the 300-year-old cellar as wine production started again.
The winery is headed up by Alexander Milner, the third generation of Milners to live and work at Natte Valleij. After graduating from Stellenbosch University as a qualified winemaker in 2005, he was keen to return to Natte Valleij and start crafting his own classic South African wines, with a keen focus on Cinsault.
Alexander’s approach at Natte Valleij is a straightforward one: to respect the soil, the vine and the wine, nurturing the grapes with as little interference as possible. In particular he has found great fascination in seemingly forgotten areas of old dry-land bush vines that offer extraordinary interest and quality.
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