Move Over, Stellenbosch: Discovering Plettenberg Bay’s Emerging Wine Industry

Source: AFK Travel

Packwood Wines
Packwood wines (Kate Liquorish)

Plettenberg Bay’s second Wine and Bubbly Festival afforded the rare occasion of having all the people who’d shaped this tall tale into a success story, together in one room, giving me the unique opportunity to learn every side of its fascinating history.

Vicky Gent of Packwood has very similar sentiments; she and her husband are dairy farmers who also moved to Plett in 1997. They bought a farm and started from scratch with Packwood: seeing the potential, they built a dairy in the early 2000’s and then planted the vines in 2006, “We just couldn’t understand why there was all this agriculture and no vines in this area, so we met with Pete from Bramon, went to see experts in Cape Town who came out and did the soil agronomy, and then picked the right site and planted Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.”

Their original winemaker, Teddy Hall, helped them up to 2012 before encouraging them to go it on their own. They plucked up the courage, built a small winery and followed his instructions to the T, she laughs, “It’s hard work, it’s not romantic and it’s not for the faint-heartedVicky and her team have grown from strength to strength; winning silver at the International Wine & Spirit Competition for their 2012 Gent Bubbly Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend and a Bronze for the Pinot Noir as well as a Double Gold for the Gent Bubbly Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend and a trophy for the Pinot Noir at the Vitis Vinifera awards

I ask Vicky what terroir she thinks Plett is most similar to, as it’s been compared to New Zealand and parts of Europe, and she smiles and replies, “I’d say it’s most similar to Plett – why do we have to be compared to somewhere else?”

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