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Natives of the Worcester region for 150 years, the Lategan family have a prodigious knowledge of South African wines. Today sixth generation winemaker De Wet Lategan is in charge of the cellar, crafting wines from the ripe fruit of vines planted by his grandfather.
Former Cape Winemaker of the Year, De Wet has won more than 100 awards for his wines in the last decade alone - including a host of medals for his bestselling White River Chenin Blanc ... a favourite among Laithwaites Wine customers.
De Wet Lategan showed his promise early on, winning South Africa's prestigious Young Winemaker of the Year accolade. More recently, he was named Winemaker of the Year on his home patch, seeing off 29 other contenders for the title.
But then winemaking is in the Lategan's blood. The family established Bergsig Estate in 1843 when Willem Lategan first planted vines on his farm in the Breede River Valley, on the other side of the du Toitskloof mountains from Paarl and Stellenbosch.
And what a terrific location it's proved to be! The estate is sited where the Breede River Valley narrows, creating a natural funnelling effect. This provides cooling breezes in Summer and sufficient rainfall to virtually eliminate the need for extra irrigation. When irrigation is required, the estate can use water from one of the four rivers which flow through the property.
De Wet uses these natural gifts well. With a degree in Oenology and Viticulture from the University of Stellenbosch, De Wet has the technical expertise to ensure that the wines are well made, under the best cellar conditions. However, his winemaking philosophy is to work as naturally and simply as possible, to capture the unique terroir of the vineyards in his wines.