Since 1880, the Nel family of Boplaas have been crafting internationally recognised wines, ports, brandies and more recently whiskey, in the quaint Klein Karoo hamlet of Calitzdorp. Visit their shop and tasting room to sample from their award-winning offering, accompanied by a selection of delicious locally produced preserves, olive oils and relishes.
As a sixth generation farm, Boplaas has a history that spans centuries. How did it all begin?
Boplaas has a history of distilling that dates as far back as 1880, when the first order of pot still brandy casks was crafted at Boplaas by Daniel Nel, and was sent to Cape Town harbour by ox wagon for export to London. After the repeal of distilling licences in the early 1920s, Boplaas’s copper pot still lay dormant for almost 70 years, until it was fired up again in 1989. This was in part the work of Carel Nel, a neutral born entrepreneur who, after finishing his BSC in winemaking, joined his father on the farm.
How did this progress into winemaking?
On the lookout for budding opportunities, Carel soon began a fruit drying, fruit preserve and jam business, which over time supported the building of a cellar on the farm. The success of the Boplaas ‘vrugtehappies’ (dried fruit pieces) and other dried fruit paved the way for the Nel family to follow their true passion of crafting fine wines in the Klein Karoo. The foundation stone of the new cellar was laid in 1981, with the first Boplaas Estate wines released in 1982.
How did it progress from there?
Boplaas’ first SA Champion Port was crafted in 1986 and was awarded the coveted title at the National Young Wine Show. Towards the end of the 1980’s, the first vineyards were established at Ruiterbosch in the Outeniqua Mountains – the first cool climate site in the Southern Cape. This allowed the Nel family to produce Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Méthode Cap Classique.
To date, Boplaas has received numerous accolades for its Potstill Brandy, wines, Port-styled wines and more recently, whisky.
Which wine would you recommend for a first-time visitor?
The range of red wines from the Portuguese varietals, like the Boplaas Tinta Barocca, Boplaas Touriga Nacional, Boplaas Ring of Rocks (red blend of Portuguese varietals).
What other products or offerings are available in the shop?
The shop and tasting room also offer a variety of delicious local preserves, jams, atchars, olive products and olive oil.
When is your tasting room open?
7 days per week: 9:00 – 17:00