|Monday to Sunday: By appointment only
Public Holidays: By appointment only
|Proprietor: Axe Hill Winery (Pty) Ltd
General Manager: Mike Neebe
Winemaker: Mike Neebe
Viticulturist: Mike Neebe
Marketing: Mike Neebe
|Area under vines: 1.3 ha
Production: 6 to 9 tons
Brands: Axe Hill
Wines: Barrel fermented dry white wines; Chenin Blanc, Viognier. Dry reds made from traditional Portuguese cultivars. Port; Ruby, White, Vintage and Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) watch out for a Tawny!
Wine Tourism: Visitors welcome by appointment.
More about us
Axe Hill was started by the late Tony Mossop and wife Lyn, at a remote site on the outskirts of Calitzdorp in the Klein Karoo during 1993. Mike Neebe took over in 2007 and has just completed his 12th harvest (2018).
The area has been acclaimed for its fortified wines for many years and Calitzdorp is affectionately known as “the Port Capital of South Africa”. The unique micro-climate prevalent in the region is typically characterized by dry, arid conditions which add to the overall concentration of Portuguese varieties grown here. The name of the vineyard originates from the stone hand tools found on the farm and possibly used by pre-historic man over a quarter of a million years ago.
In exceptional years one vintage port is made from a blend of the traditional Portuguese varieties; Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Souzão. The wine is matured in old 500 litre French oak barrels after hand sorting and foot crushing in lagares for maximum extraction of flavours and colour. This method closely resembles traditional Portuguese port wine making techniques which have been in use for centuries.
Experimenting with a small range of dry white wines, the cellar is now producing two; Ambeintem – barrel fermented (wild yeast) Chenin Blanc 2017 – about to be released and an unusual barrel fermented Viognier from a neighbouring farm. These wines sell out long before the new vintages become available!
A dry, white port, is also produced. Chenin Blanc grapes are used in this drier style fortified wine. The wine is barrel-aged by the fractional blending of old to young wine so that each bottling is a fusion of ages, with the average age gradually increasing over the years. Axe Hill Cape White has its origins with the first vintage in 2003 and will continue to grow in complexity with future releases.
Apart from a Cape Ruby Port, Cape Vintage Port and LBV, a periodic Shiraz Dry Red – and some other unique dry reds, the cellar will soon release its sixth vintage of Machado (meaning axe in Portuguese) – (2015) a unique Dry Red blend made from Portuguese varietals Souzão, Touriga Nacional, Shiraz, Tinta Barroca – A Cape Port Producers Association Annual Challenge Top 10 and a Tim Atkin 92-point rating in 2017.
Meet the winemaker
Mike Neebe is the winemaker at Axe Hill. He started making wine at Axe Hill in 2008, facing a daunting challenge to maintain Axe Hill standards. Mike spent a harvest at RAMOS PINTO in Portugal in 2010 honing his port and winemaking skills. He lives in Johannesburg commuting to Calitzdorp frequently.
His favourite wine from the cellar
Mike’s current favourite wine at Axe Hill is undoubtedly the blend known as Machado – which has been described as the “vinous equivalent of sheepskin slippers…” one of a kind, a bold, food-friendly wine made in a classical style.
Facts about Mike you probably did not know
He loves great food, classical music in the cellar, blended with the tranquillity of the Klein Karoo which is his antidote for the “warp” speed of Johannesburg.