Scruffy-faced and ponytailed, Adi Badenhorst is one of the wine world's great characters. Formerly the winemaker at the renowned Stellenbosch estate Rustenberg, he comes from a family with a distinguished wine pedigree: his grandfather was the general manager at Groot Constantia for 46 years. In 2008 together with his cousin Hein he purchased a 60 acre farm which was in the middle of nowhere and had been abandoned since the 1930's. The idea was to make natural wines in the traditional manner, which is what he now does - with a vengeance. He writes that his inspiration is "the great old wines of South Africa and the discarded varietals, the bottles of which can be found in the forgotten corners of old cellars before modern methods and fame came along and changed the purity of the wines."
Adi is the nominal head of an anarchic group of like-minded nonconformists called 'Swartland Independents' who are collectively defining the cutting edge of the 'New South Africa'. The fact that the 'New South Africa' has a distinctly retro back-to-the-future vibe and smacks profoundly of the 'forgotten corners of old cellars' mentioned above is nothing less than perfect.
A visit to the beautiful tumbledown Cape Dutch house and cellar is an unforgettable experience; invariably involving great local food cooked outdoors, swarms of friends pouring their wines, and the inestimable joys of scratchy old vinyl. The sweeping view is heart-stoppingly beautiful, the sense of being blessed is profound, and the naturalness of the wines is, well, perfectly natural.