Italian passion for fine wine and conservation are inseparable elements of Slent, the historic mountainside farm, our home now, and of Ayama wines, where visitors will meet us in the cellar or in the vineyard.
A decade ago, we left our Northern Italian home to go on holiday with friends in South Africa. Like many others, we fell in love with South Africa, the people, the weather and the wine. We returned to the Cape as prospective landowners, took our friends on as financial partners, and bought a beautiful Voor Paardeberg farm, boasting vines, orchards of plums and pears, to which we have added olive groves.
We made light of the difficulties of learning about South African soils, grape cultivars, local cultures and more, while renovating the old farmstead and unearthing unexpected joys such as porcini mushrooms sprouting under old oaks in the autumn.
We remain friends with the local baboon troop even as the latter devises strategies for a share of Shiraz grapes and veggies: In fact one of our wines, a delicious Chenin Blanc, is called Baboons’ Swing, after watching the agile youngsters using poles and wires in the Chenin vineyards as their personal jungle gym.
Ayama’s fine Chenin’s are joined by good Shiraz and Pinotage, three wine cultivars for which the Voor Paardeberg is renowned. Our range Leopard Spot, is a combination of these varieties.
In 2014, we launched our maiden bubbly’s, an admirable trio, with the crisp Rosé, in particular, attracting high ratings. Both of these, along with the reds and whites, and a delectable olive oil, all represent excellent value for money.
In November 2014, we planted two hectares of the very FIRST Vermentino in South Africa, a Sardinian clone going through 6 years of waiting between quarantine and vines to be made. We are working on more and more to share and offer, to be confirmed, or soon to be Ayama FANatics. We can’t take it easy… we are proudly South Africans now… but still Italians!