Winemaking at Rickety Bridge
Situated less than 3 kilometers from the heart of Franschhoek and nestled against the slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains, sits Rickety Bridge Wine Estate.
The History of Rickety Bridge Winery
With a history going back to 1797, the estate and its legacy have been passed on to its current owner Duncan Spence who has been ownership of the estate since 2000.
This historic estate was originally part of the great La Provence farm given to French Huguenot farmers in 1694. Over the years the property was divided and the portion which is now Rickety Bridge was granted to Paulina De Villiers, one of the first female landowners in South Africa, in 1797.
In the late 1980s, the estate became known as Rickety Bridge due to the old railway sleeper bridge which crossed the Franschhoek River and provided the entry point to the estate. The rickety bridge was replaced in 1996 and the new bridge provides a safe crossing over the river.
The position of the farm, overlooking the Wemmershoek Mountain range gives the estate a range of aspects and soil types for growing different varieties of grapes. The lower flatland of the estate is covered by sandy soils close to the Franschhoek River which crosses in front of the estate’s lower border. The hillside provides the wine estate with decomposed granite soils which are ideal for growing high-quality red grapes required for producing premium red wine.
Today, Rickety Bridge is a stately Franschhoek winery that has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and the memory and pioneering spirit of Paulina De Villiers are celebrated by the flagship range of wines, Paulina's Reserve. These distinctive wines, as well as the renowned Rickety Bridge classic range and the Foundation Stone Range, have received many accolades and high praise in recent years.
Rickety Bridge Wine Estate is 50 Hectares in an area of which only 13 Hectares. The remaining 32 Hectares are made up of a 5-star guesthouse, a modern wine cellar, a restaurant, staff accommodation, dams, and a pine forest. Rickety Bridge Wine Estate is a popular destination in the Cape Winelands with a long winemaking history.
Meet our Winemaking Team
Before heading up the Rickety Bridge Winemaking Team, Cellar Master Donovan studied at Elsenburg in Stellenbosch. After his studies, he completed harvests in California, Australia, France, and numerous in South Africa. His winemaking passion has been passed on through a shared passion from his uncle and grandfather who were also both winemakers. With the original idea of becoming a viticulturist, it was after his first harvest that he became hooked on the process of harvesting and producing wines. His experience in viticulture is very important as it helps him understand his vineyards and assist in producing exceptional terroirs.
Mari also joined the Rickety Bridge winemaking team in 2018 after completing her studies at Elsenburg Agricultural Institute. Thereafter she completed harvests in France, Austria, and the USA along with multiple harvests in South Africa. Her passion for winemaking came from a love for vineyards and the thorough process of taking care of grapes. The love and smell of the yeast in harvest time and the excitement of the grapes coming in are what fuel her love for winemaking.