Robertson

Robertson

The Robertson wine district is around 175 kilometres from Cape Town, and is in the Breede River Valley region. Known as the Valley of Wine and Roses, it is considered by some domestic tourists to be the second best wine district in South Africa, and coming behind Stellenbosch, this is a good place to be. The valley is beautiful, like the rest of the Breede River Valley, with an abundance of natural Flora and Fauna, and populated with a large number of wine cellars and vineyards which make it what it is today. The valley is usually referred to on Wine of Origin labels, even when it has only been produced on one estate, because the area is so well known.

The land in the Robertson district is divided into two types of soil. The first soil, coming from the River, brings sandy deposits which make the ground more fertile. In the higher areas, and particularly the mountain slopes around Robertson, the soil is mostly shale, with some red clay and sand deposits, which help to retain a water supply throughout the summer. The good soil of the river plain is very fertile, and will not need to be managed much, but the dry shale soils of the higher areas can lack water retention, and this will leave the plants desperate for water unless irrigation and fertilization are used.

The climate of the Robertson district is not very high, being about 250mm every year. This rainfall mostly occurs during the colder winter spells, but is generally not enough to support the vines when they are producing fruits. Growers in the Breede River plans tend to use that, and the Dam associated with it, in order to supply water for their farms, but even the river can start to run out of water when it is particularly pressed for water. Growers in the mountains tend to use water butts and other forms of stored water, in addition to wells. The growers will often store the water from the winter rains, and preserve it for the summer.

The summer is a particularly difficult time of year for wine growers, since the sun in the region can get very intense, and there is rarely enough water to sustain the plants. The summer also brings a variety of insects, diseases and fungi which attack the vines while they are dry and weak. The continual spraying for these pests can take a great deal of time and effort. In the summer, the average temperature is 26 degrees centigrade, with a night temperature of 14.1, while in the winter, the temperature will only fall to about 21 degrees Centigrade, which means that the plants are not always as cool as necessary during these months. There are also years when the average rainfall is not plentiful, either because of extended summers, or due to atmospheric pressure problems, and when this occurs, growing wines in Robertson can be rather difficult, but the soil in the Breede River Valley district allows growers there to continue.