Therona – One of South Africa’s most unique varietals
If you haven’t heard of the wine varietal, Therona, you are not alone. Therona, a grape variety proudly developed in Stellenbosch, is a unique part of South Africa’s wine heritage. Stellenbosch Vineyards is the exclusive winery in South African to create this unique variety, and only recently have wine critics begun to recognize this special and historic wine.
Developed in the late 1950s, Therona is a hybrid of two grape varieties namely Crouchen Blanc (better known as Cape Riesling) and Chenin Blanc. Professor Christiaan Johannes Orffer of Stellenbosch University carefully crafted this varietal and named it in honour of his student mentor, wine pioneer, and professor, CJ Theron. The concept of crossing Crouchen Blanc with Chenin Blanc was to increase the standard of quality of locally produced Chenin Blanc. After almost 30 years after the initial crossing, Therona was introduced to the local wine industry and showed significant potential as a single cultivar, during the same time Pinotage was established.
Grape growers, however, remained skeptical about the future of Therona and continued to focus on their Chenin Blanc vines rather than experimenting with a new varietal. In 2015, a mere 61.81ha of land was home to the promising grape, and only 0.26ha was found within the Stellenbosch region. While the knowledge and interest of Therona continued to decline, there was someone who recognized its potential.
Stellenbosch Vineyards winemaker, Petri de Beer, needed no convincing when stumbling across this uncommon varietal. “It was not only the first sip that sold me but the history as well. I immediately knew the next step was to source Therona vineyards and start experimenting,” explains Petri. The Limited Release Therona grapes are handpicked from a single vineyard comprising of 100 vines at the foothills of Stellenbosch berg that are specifically managed by the Stellenbosch Vineyards winemaking trio.
The Stellenbosch Vineyards Limited Release Therona
“This vegan-friendly wine delivers a floral bouquet complemented by flavours of green apple and peach, with a hint of vanilla on a well-rounded pallet. The wine is a perfect accompaniment to rich fish, poultry dishes, or if you are adventurous, a spicy vegan curry” says Petri.
Grown in the South African climate, Therona offers high-quality wine and performs well, even in dry and hot conditions. Since its first vintage in 2016, the Stellenbosch Vineyards Therona has received multiple awards from renowned wine competitions such as the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, Top 100 at the National Wine Challenge (NWC) as well as the International Wine and Spirit Awards (IWSC).
“The Therona journey has been an exceedingly rewarding one, and it has most certainly been one of the highlights of my winemaking career. With every vintage, my knowledge, understanding, and intrigue continuous to grow and can’t wait Therona flourish even more in the future”, declares Petri.
For more information or to purchase the Stellenbosch Vineyards Limited Release Therona, please visit our website (www.stellenboschvineyards.co.za) or contact us via email@example.com