Vilafonté is a joint American and South African wine-making venture based in the Paarl-Simonsberg region in South Africa.
This innovative red winemaking project is a partnership between wine specialists from South Africa and the United States. Mike Ratcliffe (Managing Director, and also MD of Warwick Wine Estates), Zelma Long (one of America’s best known winemakers) and viticulturalist Dr. Phil Freese (who designed and planted the first Opus One vineyards in Napa Valley) are just three of the nine names involved in the project, all of whom believe in, “an unwavering commitment to excellence.”
The name, Vilafonté, derives from the primary soil type of the 100-acre estate, whose character forms the foundation of the wines. The estate covers 42 hectares with 12 hectares planted in 1998 and 1999 with Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
Head Winemaker, Zelma Long, was one of the first women to study oenology and viticulture at U.C. Davis. She began her winemaking career at Robert Mondavi Winery and after 10 years moved to Simi Winery in Sonoma County.
On October 27th 2014, the 2011 Vilafonté Series ‘C’ was announced as a five-star wine in Platter’s South African Wine Guide. This is the highest accolade in the South African wine industry and we are not aware of another Bordeaux blend previously having received this honour.