Kanonkop’s production is centred around two grape varieties – Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Pinotage vines are cultivated as bush vines to provide optimum sunlight, which allows for maximum ripeness and to assist with regulating the crop. These vines are some of the first commercially planted Pinotage to be established at the Cape, and most are over 65 years old. Cabernet Sauvignon is a shy bearer and is cultivated as trellised vines into a five-strand hedge, and the same applies to the Merlot and Cabernet Franc vineyards.
OPTIMUM RIPENESS – plays a major role in producing good red wine. At Kanonkop careful monitoring is done to ensure that the grapes are picked to perfection, using analytical testing of sugar, acid and PH levels, as well as visual inspection and tasting of the berries.
GRAPE VARIETIES – Kanonkop is renowned for its red wines, with Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon at the core. Pinotage accounts for 50% of all plantings, Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Merlot 7.5%, and smaller parcels of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot complete the portfolio.
Kanonkop follows the age-old tradition of wines being made in open concrete fermenters, but with a slight difference in that the tanks are wide and shallow. The cap is punched down by hand every two hours, during which the temperature is fixed between 28°C and 30°C, when most of the colour, good tannins and flavours are extracted. The juice spends 3 – 7 days on the skins, and the time and temperature that is maintained, depends on the grape variety, and the climate in a specific year. After fermentation and extraction, the skins are removed and malolactic fermentation follows in concrete and stainless steel tanks, as well as new 225L oak barrels. Each year, mainly French barrels from the Nevers forest are used for maturation, along with a few experimental barrels from elsewhere. During the maturation period, the wines are carefully monitored and, if required, they are racked before bottling. All the cellaring, bottling and labelling is done on Kanonkop.