Cellarmaster, winemaker, viticulturist, distiller, marketer, product developer, wife, mother, animal over,
cook and camping enthusiast.
These are just a few terms ascribed to Clarise, cellar master at Hazendal Wine Estate on the Bottelary-Stellenbosch Wine Route
The appointment of Sciocatti-Langeveldt in 2016 was certainly a watershed moment for the historic farm’s wine production. A major refurbishment of the estate in 2018 included a complete revamp of the wine production cellar, optimising the space for the goal of producing boutique volumes of world-class wines. Clarise’s detailed approach to winemaking extends to the replanted Hazendal vineyards. To combat years of declining yields due to the spread of leaf-roll virus, all vines on the property where uprooted and the land rejuvenated. In their place, virus-free clones of a dozen carefully chosen cultivars were replanted across twelve hectares, carefully matched to capitalise on the unique terroir of Hazendal.
“ While we wait for these vines to reach maturity, we have been careful to source fruit from vineyards that are similar in both site and terroir to what we have planted here on Hazendal, that will bring the same flavour and complexity as we expect from our own vineyards in time, ” says Sciocatti-Langeveld.
The wines speak for themselves – at the most recent London Wine Awards 2022, Clarise garnered 3 double-gold and 2 gold medals. At this year’s Concours Mondial de Bruxelles she received a gold for the Hazendal Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.
A GENERATIONAL RESILIENCE
Clarise is a fifth-generation descendant of Domenico Sciocatti, who first set foot on South African soil from Italy in 1881. Her grandfather, William, and his brothers would always tell stories of their youth in the Gouna Forest in Knysna. Ten siblings deep in a forest made for stories filled with cunning and mischievous play. Their story of resilience made a lasting impression, a story worth telling.
Clarise decided to follow a life of wine shortly after finishing her school career. She completed her Degree in Cellar Technology at Elsenburg in 2006. To broaden her horizons and explore other cultures, she travelled to various wine regions around the world, including Marlborough, Napa, Coonawarra and Temecula, focussing on the New, but never forgetting the Old.
After 2 years and 6 vintages she returned to South Africa. Clarise completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Wine Business Management at UCT in 2012 when her journey with Eaglevlei started. In 2017 she completed a Master Distiller Course and she is currently busy with her WSET Level 4 diploma.
Clarise believes that more work should happen in the vineyard than in the cellar. She deliberately does not overwork the wines in order to preserve the flavour and keep the wines as elegant as possible. During harvest, the grapes are cooled down, de-stemmed, crushed and then fermented. Oak contact is kept to a low- to medium-toast and is merely there to introduce freshness. Clarise also produces her own brand of Cap Classique wines, called Il Geco (“The Gecko), in celebration of the true “gechi” of the world – the adaptable, brave, daring and courageous souls who conquer misfortunes and rise above.