‘Winemaking is both art and science, intellect and passion – a meeting of the heart and mind’ – Neil Ellis.
Neil is nothing short of a great pioneer for the ever-evolving South African wine industry. Without his tireless determination to get the South African wine board to recognise the importance of regionality in wine classification, we may not have been able to appreciate the sheer variety and calibre of wines that are produced in the country today.
The whole philosophy behind the Neil Ellis brand is around careful site selection to find areas where individual grape varieties will excel. He knows that no single vineyard site can satisfy the needs of multiple grape varieties and takes the practice of ‘site specific’ wine production to a whole new level.
From Stellenbosch, the noble heart of the South African wine industry, where its dramatic cliff fronts and varied tapestry of mesoclimates produce Cabernet Sauvignon’s of great depth and complexity, to the seemingly barren landscape of Groenekloof, where long, dry days and bitterly cool nights help develop Sauvignon Blanc fruit with bright flavour intensity and freshness.
With a sense of place at the heart of wine production, it comes as no surprise that looking after the land is of paramount importance to Neil Ellis. Native plantings and dryland farming practices are just a couple of many practices used to protect and sustain the many environments he works with.