Ataraxia was founded in 2004. Husband and wife team, Kevin and Hanli, in partnership with a few friends, purchased 50 hectares of prime vineyard land. The landscape in which Ataraxia is situated, called The Skyfields is unique, lying as it does on the most elevated section of the Hemel-en-Aarde area. Nestled on this commanding rise beneath the soaring BabylonsToren mountain range, our vineyards are planted on some of the most spectacular terroirs South Africa has to offer. It is a place where wines of incredible finesse, balance and depth are crafted, that proudly hold their own in the international arena.
Born in Malawi and schooled in Cape Town, Kevin graduated from the University of Pretoria with a B.Sc. Honours degree in Zoology. Always drawn to winemaking, he completed a diploma in Cellar Technology at Elsenburg Agricultural, graduating as Dux Student in 1990. While working at top-end estates in South Africa, he undertook study/harvest trips to France, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand. “The more pure the voice of the soil, the more interesting the wine.” Michael Chiarello.
The Hemel en Aarde area lies within the Walker Bay wine appellation and is divided into 3 wards: ours being the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge to the west of Cape Agulhas, Africa’s southernmost tip. Orientated on an east/west axis, it is approximately 35 kilometres in length. A particularly mild climate is a result of close proximity to the icy South Atlantic Ocean. Fourteen soil types are derived from the deposits of Table Mountain Sandstone, Cape Granite and Bokkeveld Shale that make up the geology of the area. These deposits can be traced back over 1000 million years ago which means that we have the privilege of cultivating some of the most ancient soils on Earth. All our vineyards are planted on these elevated, predominantly south facing slopes.
Our soils dictate which grape cultivars we plant. After meticulous study and research, Kevin decided that the best vehicles to express our terroir were Chardonnay and Pinot noir. We currently have a total of 12 hectares planted equally to these two cultivars with a further 6 hectares of each planned for the future.
Ataraxia’s tasting room, The Wine Lounge is situated on what has been described as “surely one of the most spectacular and dramatic positions in the whole wine world”. Built as a chapel in the vernacular architectural style of the region, it offers a place for relaxed contemplation of the three wines in our range. These are: an unwooded Sauvignon Blanc, a wooded Chardonnay, a red blend which we’ve called Serenity and a Pinot Noir.
As has become the norm in crafting Ataraxia Chardonnay, a minimalist, non-interventionist winemaking approach, geared to reflect sense of place and expression of terroir, was adopted.
Ataraxia Pinot Noir has an intriguing luminous hue that reflects rather than absorbs light.
Painstaking fruit selection and skilled winemaking using reductive cellar techniques has resulted in our Sauvignon Blanc seamlessly incorporating the very best that the Old and New World styles have to offer.
The Ataraxia Serenity is finely scented, vibrant nose with hints of dark berry fruit and intriguing mineral and spicy notes characterise this wine