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Graffiti and street culture: the original artisanal wines from South Africa's Swartland region
Region Swartland (Sud Africa)
Foundation Year 2008
Vineyard hectares 15
Annual production 40.000 bt
Address Goedemanskraal rd - Eendekuil, 7335, South Africa
Oenologist Craig Hawkins

The Testalonga winery was founded in 2008 by Craig and Carla Hawkins in the mountains of Swartland, a region in the south-west of South Africa. Despite its close proximity to the famous Stellenbosch area, which is famous and renowned worldwide for the production of fine wines with an international style, the Testalonga winery decided to follow a totally different path, abandoning conventional taste and investing in artisanal production, based on the principles of sustainability, purity and expressiveness. This independent and unconventional approach, which was almost contrary to the South African authorities, led to the winery's full name of Testalonga El Bandito, which is dedicated to the feared and ferocious bandit who spread panic in Sicily in the mid-1700s. The name actually has another twist, as it is a tribute to the nickname of an old and dear Italian friend from whom Craig learned to make wine. Craig Hawkins is the mastermind, the producer, the founder and the artisan of the new world, with a strong sensibility and a consolidated background in the world of wine acquired while travelling in Europe between France, Italy, Austria and Portugal. Today, the reputation of his bottles is growing exponentially and is gaining great approval around the world. Just think that his wines are exported to more than 29 countries as they are considered to be among the most authentic and cultural portraits of a territory that is still relatively unknown, but with immense winemaking potential, South Africa.

The Testalonga estate is located in the northern Swartland foothills and is called Bandits Kloof. The soils are rich in slate, which is a metamorphic rock, along with a strong presence of sand, and are home to local varieties such as Herselevu, Pinotage and Tinta Amarela, as well as other more common grapes such as Chenin Blanc primarily, followed by Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Muscat and Colombard. If the approach in the vineyard is totally focused on respecting the land to preserve its vitality, with a total absence of chemical products (insecticides and pesticides), in the cellar the philosophy remains exactly the same. It is non-interventionist, with spontaneous fermentation and no invasive processes. Whether they are matured in wood or aged in steel, the expressions of this winery are among the most exciting examples of South African heritage.

The Testalonga wines feature visually appealing and flashy labels that resemble a Bansky-like street culture. Drawings, cinema, landscapes, photos and music album covers appear at the centre of the bottles and change every year. There is a strong link with photography and change, much like the wines, which are portraits of a landscape that is always different and never identical!

The wines of Testalonga

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