About Us

Our story begins back in 2007 while both 'dragging hose' in Sonoma, California, for the harvest season. A chance meeting between an Aussie and a South African has eventually turned into Craven Wines. After both having taken to the text books at our respective universities, we decided to hit the road, see lots of things, work in lots of places and try and learn as much as possible from this massive wine world. Since meeting we have both been on a similar journey to try and find exactly what we wanted to do. Luckily enough, we had very similar ideas. So back in 2011 we moved to Stellenbosch, South Africa, a place we both have an affinity for. We both feel Stellenbosch has such an amazing array of sites and terroir, and that it is perfect for what we want to do. Which is make site-specific, honest wines. Let the grapes do the talking....

Winemaking

In terms of 'winemaking' we like to keep things as simple as possible. To try and achieve the wines we want to make, we feel the best methods are being hands off, while being very hands on. In other words we pay serious attention to the wine but we do not manipulate the wine. We believe the best way to express site and fruit is to show just that. We do not use cultured yeasts, enzymes, fining agents, etc. throughout the winemaking process. We only use older oak and try our best to find larger format barrels. We allow our wines to stabilise naturally if they so want to. Essentially a minimal amount of SO2 (which is our friend) is the only thing added to our wines.

Jeannie & Mick

 

Als vrienden van de 'Swartland Gang' kregen ook zij de microbe van lichtere, elegantere, meer pure, fijnere, drinkbare wijnen te pakken...  Ze werken niet in de swartland maar met single vineyards uit Stellenbosch.  Met mooie stabiele natuurlijke wijnen tot gevolg... een must voor wie houdt van 'echte' pure wijnen...

Clairette Blanche

Clairette Blanche is a variety that a very long history not only in Stellenbosch, but in South Africa. Sadly due to popular demand of other varieties, a lot of it was ripped out. Luckily this little block in the Polkadraai is still in the ground and is said to be one of, if not the last block in Stellenbosch. Naturally, wanting to make wines from Stellenbosch it was a no-brainer to make a wine from these grapes.

In the cellar we make the wine in two different 'styles'. One component we whole bunch press straight to old neutral barrels for fermentation. The other portion of the grapes is de-stemmed and fermented in open top stainless steel tanks on the skins. Gentle pumpovers throughout fermentation are all that is done and once dry (around 10-12 days) we drain and press to old neutral barrels for maturation.

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Pinot Noir 'Faure Vineyard'

Pinot Noir was the first wine we made back in 2013 from grapes from Jeanine's family farm in Faure. It is a great grape to work with, showing site more than most varieties.

In the cellar we push the de-stemmer aside and ferment this wine 100% whole bunch. Fruit is picked by hand and lightly foot stomped in open top fermenters to get some juice. From there it is lightly pumped over one-two times a day to quite simply move the juice around. We don't aim to over extract as want to keep as many whole bunches and berries intact. 2014 was on skins/stems for around 10 days and drain and pressed to old barrels for 10 months.

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Syrah 'Faure Vineyard'

Syrah is a grape that we both have a soft spot for. We think there are some really special and unique sites and plantings of Syrah in Stellenbosch and it is something we hope to work a lot with in the future. Our first edition is from block quite close to the Pinot Noir block in the Faure area.

Like most of our red wines we are firm believers in the use of whole bunch fermentation. In 2014 we fermented this with 100% whole bunches in stainless steel open tops. Very gentle pumpovers were all this wine received as we want to minimise extraction and maintain as many whole bunches as possible. 2014 was pressed off after 13 days on skins into old barrels for 10 months.

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Craven Syrah Faure Vineyard 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa
11.5% alcohol. Vivid and peppery with black cherry, blackberry, clove and spice with a savoury, grippy intensity and a hint of citrus. This is super-drinkable but not too easy, with lovely brightness. It’s not green, but there’s some sappy freshness and a lovely black pepper bite here. This is a really thought-provoking wine with the fruit trying its best to be generous and ripe, but being boxed in by the savoury structure and keen acidity. Quite delicious and more-ish but not simple. 93/100

Syrah 'The Firs Vineyard'
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