Founded by Chris and Andrea Mullineux in 2007, this winery is now one of the most lauded in South Africa. Named ‘Winery of the Year’ five times by the Platter Guide in 2014, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2023, Mullineux were also Tim Atkin MW’s ‘South African Winemakers of the Year’ in 2016. They chose the town of Riebeek-Kasteel, just west of Malmesbury in the Swartland, for its old vineyards on granite and schist soils, reasoning that, with such quality fruit, they would be able to make outstanding wines. It is an understatement to say they have been proved right.
As always with great wines, the story starts in the vineyard. The Swartland is warm and dry in the summer and benefits from a cooling afternoon breeze from the Atlantic Ocean, which borders the Swartland to the West. Disease pressure is low, which, in turn, means spraying is kept to a minimum. While the trend in much of the rest of the world is to reintroduce native plants to vineyards to ensure a more balanced ecosystem, the fashion for monoculture in the 1970s and 1980s bypassed the Swartland. As a result, most of the vineyards that Chris and Andrea own and lease are planted amid native species like fynbos. These provide a home for native insects, which in turn act as predators of other insects that can damage the vines. Once again, this enables spraying to be kept to a minimum.