Viticultural Philosophy

The activities of our viticulturist, Francois Malan, all strive to develop and maintain optimal balance in our vines. There are five forms of viticultural balance:

  • Above soil surface and below soil surface balance:

    Here we strive for an optimal ratio of 1:1 between root and canopy volume. There must be enough roots to support the above surface vegetative and reproductive growth.

  • A balance between young and old leaves:

    There must be enough young leaves for optimal photosynthesis especially late in the season to achieve optimal bunch ripeness. Enough old leaves are important to protect the bunches from sunburn.

  • Left and right cordon balance:

    The cordon is the main permanent wooden arms of the vine which are formed on the first trellis wire. The left and right cordon must be of equal length, strength and thickness to ensure bunches (berries) of homogeneous quality.

  • A balance between shoot growth and crop:

    The amount of leaves on each shoot must be in balance with the number of bunches on each shoot. This is necessary for the vine to ripen each bunch and berry to its optimum. Here we strive for between 8 and 10 leaves per bunch.

  • A balance between thick and thin roots:

    The thick roots give the vine structural stability. The thin roots play the important role of water and mineral uptake.

Terroir

The terroir is unique and favours the production of top quality red wines. Rainbow's End is endowed with deep red, oakleaf soils varying in stone fraction and its height varies between 350m and 540m above sea level. The variation of topography all contribute to the distinctiveness of its product. Twenty-three hectares of mountain slopes are cultivated to vines. In places a high stone fraction occurs moderating soil temperature, restricting vigour and causing vines to naturally produce smaller berries with greater fruit concentration.

Cabernet Sauvignon is planted on the warmer lower lying north-western slopes (370m above sea level) where increased sun exposure ensures proper ripening for this late ripening cultivar.

Cabernet Franc requiring slightly less heat is planted slightly higher (between 420m and 450m above sea level).

Merlot is planted on the highest north-facing sites (540m above sea level) These cooler high-lying slopes slow down ripening keeping the fruity Merlot flavours intact.

Shiraz is planted on cooler east- and south-facing slopes protecting the vines from the hot afternoon sun.

Petit Verdot and Malbec are planted on the lowest eastern section of the estate in the soils with the highest stone fraction. (350m above sea level)

Plant densities vary according to the soil potential and rootstock-scoin combination allowing adequate space for optimal vine development.

  • Cabernet Franc vineyards capturing early morning sunlight.
  • Harvesting by hand
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