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Franschhoek,  South Africa

See Solms-Delta Wine Estate wines we sell

Professor Mark Solms returned to South African after many years abroad and purchased the farm which was renamed Solms Delta. In addition to being a winery owner, he is also currently a Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town. His achievements in academia are too numerous to recount, needless to say he has authored books, taught medical students, and been named as the International Psychiatrist of the Year in 2000 by the American Psychiatric Association. Born in Luderitz, Namibia, schooled at Pretoria Boys High, he has spent most of his adult life between London and the USA, but now has a real reason to spend more time in the Cape.

Solms Delta is much more than just another wine farm in the Franschhoek Valley. They have a museum exploring the slave heritage of the area, have been the site of archeological digs, have a restaurant and offer picnics on the banks of a river. Interestingly, when excavating ruins from the very early European settlers in the valley, 350 years prior, it was discovered that the area is also a stone age archeological site. Solms Delta farm sits right on top of this stone age site. Jokingly, on of the farm workers made the passing comment to the Professor: “See Prof, my people have been here much longer than yours…” His family tree includes winemakers some 500 years ago in Germany, and now he is happy to get back to a long lost family tradition.

Mark Solms takes a very scientific approach to the vineyards and winemaking. The soil and climate were studied and it was decided to plant Shiraz, Mourvedre, Grenache, & Viognier. Having no formal training in viticulture, but rather being a wine lover and scholar, he took note of the ancient practice of twisting the stalk on the bunch before harvest, the goal being to concentrate flavors. This process, known as dessication, was widely written about in the Mediterranean wine growing regions up until a couple of hundred years ago. Mark persisted and some trial and error have proved the method to have real results. He managed to convert his winemaker and viticulturist to this method, and the accolades have come in.

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