Nelspruit is not usually known for it wine farms like South Africa’s Cape region however passionate wine lovers have invested years and their expert farming knowledge to produce some fantastic wines in the Neslpruit area.
Two of these wine farms include Rottcher Wineries and Gilbey Distillers & Vintners.
Rottcher Wineries is no normal wine farm however. It is incredibly unique. Using an age-old traditional method of fermentation, Rottcher Wineries manufactures there one of a kind Avalencia orange-wine which is similar sherry or port. It’s Sweet, Dry, Ginger and Chilli Avalencia are famous within the region. Nelspruit is one of the best areas to grown Oranges and citrus in the world, and there are many amazing road side stalls where travelers can stop to buy freshly squeezed Orange juice for ridiculously low prices.
The pioneer of Orange wine Mr Rottcher, who was a missionary in Kwa-Zulu Natal, started the Sonnengold Orange Winery near Greytown in 1916. This was because the missionary had no wine to serve at Church and so chose to make his very own wine. Oranges were plentiful int he region and so it was an easy choice of what ingredients to use.
Unknowingly he launched an industry that would endure right up to the present day. His grandson, Kurt Rottcher, moved to White River in the 1950’s and even though he was an engineer, he kept up the family tradition of producing wines from oranges.
Rottcher Wineries officially started in White River in 1959 on the Heidelberg Road just outside Nelspruit, where the White River Sawmills are today. In 1967 Kurt moved the winery to Farm Magnifique on the Nelspruit/White River main road where production continued and grew until he retired in 1983. When Kurt’s retired he sold the winery to Koot & Laura Van Den Heever, who had recently moved to White River from Johannesburg. In 2008 Koot’s niece, Christine Nel and her husband Jaco, took over and moved the winery to its current location at the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre.
In the beginning of 2012 Frank Theron bought Rottcher Wineries. Urged on by his friends and assisted by the former owners, and greatly motivated by his personal passion for wine and his personal hobby of collecting all kinds of wines, he took over with energy, passion and enthusiasm. He immediately decided that innovation and spark was required in order to push the business forward which caused him to expand and introduce an exciting selection of new products.
All of Rottcher Wineries products can be found in store at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre.
These days wine can only be called os if it is made from Grapes and this is why Rottcher Winery calls it’s products Avalencia.
If you are ever in the Nelspruit or White River area make sure you stop in at the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre to take a tour of the winery and taste all of the different styles of Avalencia.
Valencia is first fermented using a very specific kind of yeast, then it is vat-matured for a minimum of six months, then it is refined, racked if necessary, filtered and bottled. Unlike wine, Avalencia does not oxidise easily, and it matures well in the bottle when stored correctly.
Nelspruit is an amazing area and gateway to the Kruger National Park. You will definitely want to stay there for longer than a day, so make sure you enjoy the large variety of wonderful Nelspruit B&B and Guesthouses.