Glen Carlou celebrates 30 Years of Chardonnay
A Journey through Three Decades of Innovation, Achievement and Chardonnay
Glen Carlou Vineyards, situated in the heart of the South African winelands, is regarded as one of the regions finest wine estates. Our 145 hectare farm was purchased by Glen Carlou’s founder Walter Finlayson in 1985 after recognising the land’s potential for producing wine grapes of outstanding quality.
With no vines on the property, Walter Finlayson sourced the best cultivars for the property’s soil type and climate. He made the first Glen Carlou Chardonnay in 1988, one of the first South African Chardonnay’s. It was barrel fermented and matured for 10 months inside an air-conditioned shipping container, as the property did not yet have any cellar facilities.
Today, Glen Carlou produces approximately 15 000 9L cases of this iconic Chardonnay and remain South African leaders in the field of Chardonnay.
In 1995, Swiss National Donald Hess acquired partnership with the Finlaysons when Glen Carlou Chardonnay reached new heights as the first South African winery to be awarded above 90 points in Wine Spectator, and included in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of the world list. In 2002 Glen Carlou was the only South African winery to be awarded two gold medals at the International Wine Challenge & International Wine & Spirit Competition.
The award streak continued as Glen Carlou expanded the range of wines produced. In 2004 the Glen Carlou Syrah was listed on South African Airways (SAA) ‘First Class’ wine list and awarded the ‘Best Red Wine Trophy of the Year’. John Platter Wine Guide also named this Syrah ‘Wine of the Year’ in 2006.
2007 welcomed a new look for Glen Carlou with renovations including the contemporary art gallery, modern visitor centre and tasting area, restaurant overlooking the Drakenstein mountains and a Zen Fynbos garden at the foot of the cellar.
Glen Carlou celebrated the 25th vintage of Chardonnay in 2012 with the commemorative vintage sporting the original Glen Carlou Chardonnay label. 2012 also saw the introduction to the new Glen Carlou brand image and the launch and commercial release of the Unwooded Chardonnay, a wine fermented in then winemaker, Arco Laarman’s growing hatchery of Nomblot egg-shaped cement tanks.
2016 introduced a new era at Glen Carlou: new owners, new winemaker and a fantastic vintage and exciting new wines. Timothy Persson, CEO of Hess Family Wine Estates, conveyed his confidence in Glen Carlou’s new ownership, stating: “The new owners bring with them a wealth of business acumen, but most important, it is their enthusiasm, support and energy which will see a re-invigoration for Glen Carlou. I believe Glen Carlou will continue to strive in growing, producing and delivering better wines than ever before. The winery has thrived under the leadership of General Manager Johan Erasmus and his team, and will continue to serve as a prime example of the potential for great winemaking in South Africa.”
Glen Carlou entered 2017 commemorating 30 years of Wine. With new winemaker, Johnnie Calitz on board, the wines of Glen Carlou bloomed with a streak of awards and a new addition to the Glen Carlou Classic Collection, a delicate pink Pinot Noir Rosé. Glen Carlou Chardonnay, still one of South Africa’s best, was awarded a Sommelier Selection Gold, as well as the trophies for Best National Chardonnay and Best Chardonnay in Paarl at the South African Young Wine of the Year awards.
The 2017 Glen Carlou Chardonnay was released in July 2018 and already this commemorative vintage is reason to celebrate; winning the National Chardonnay Trophy and the award for Best Chardonnay in Paarl at the 2018 Novare Terroir Wine Awards. This Chardonnay, along with the 2017 Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay placed on the prestigious 2018 Sommeliers Selection Wine List.
We are proud to celebrate 30 years of Chardonnay with these spectacular wines.
With a celebratory spirit, innovation, consistency and expertise at heart; Glen Carlou drives forward – Chardonnay in hand and a commitment to always deliver beyond expectation.
We look forward to what may come in the next 30 years.