Hemel-En-Aarde Ridge, South Africa
See Tesselaarsdal wines we sell
Tesselaarsdal takes its name from the small farming hamlet in the mountainous hinterland, inland from Walker Bay. The land was passed in the year 1810 from Johannes Tesselaar to freed slaves, allowing them to begin farming for themselves. The area of Tesselaarsdal is very close to the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, and the birth place of Berene Sauls, herself a descendant from the freed slaves that farmed the area, and a long time employee of Hamilton Russell Vineyards.
Berene is the driving force behind this boutique brand from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, and as such she sets an example for other women to enter the wine industry and start their own brands. Being such a long time employee of Hamilton Russell and having spent her entire life in the Hemel-en-Aarde region, she is very much in touch with the area and its potential for farming. The wines are made by current Hamilton Russell winemaker, Emul Ross, with Berene doing a lot of the hands on winemaking tasks. All this is done with the approval of and encouragement from Anthony Hamilton Russell. The goal with Tesselaarsdal is to make a wine that honors the place from which it comes and to honor Berene’s roots. 2015 was the first release with a miniscule production of 1202 bottles.
Berene Sauls serves as an inspiration to other women looking to start up small businesses, particularly in the male dominated wine industry. In 2017 Tesselaarsdal won an award for Top Female Entrepreneur in South Africa. Plans are in place to expand the miniscule production. In the next few years Berene is planning to buy a piece of land in the farming hamlet of Tesselaarsdal where she grew up. It is in the Overberg ward and about 15 miles North East of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The goal is to plant 3 hectares of Chardonnay and 3 hectares of Pinot Noir and have the first vineyard in that location. Currently the grapes for Tesselaarsdal come from a contracted vineyard in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, and a Chardonnay should be added to the lineup starting in 2019.