The Foundry came into being in the year 2000, the long-held vision of Meerlust’s cellarmaster Chris Williams, in partnership with British friend and wine industry colleague James Reid. Today The Foundry’s wines are vinified, bottled and matured on the Meerlust estate, with the blessing of owner Hannes Myburgh (as the grapes used all differ from Meerlust's classic 'Bordeaux & Burgundy' palette). The aim ultimately is to relocate production to a new bespoke winery in the Voor-Paardeberg area.
Chris’s philosophy is simple: he seeks out the best quality fruit from the most expressive vineyard areas across the Cape, with the unpretentious aim to produce a wine that will be truly enjoyable to drink.
To achieve this, the devil really is in the detail: as well as selecting the highest quality vineyards, Chris takes care to source sites specifically suited to each individual grape variety. For instance, the roussanne, grenache blanc and syrah (the three Foundry wines we have stocked in recent years) are selected from Stellenbosch, Voor-Paardeberg and False Bay respectively, and are all cultivated completely differently to ensure they will be harvested at optimum ripeness.
Chris has even worked hard to secure long-term contracts for specific rows of particularly fine vines to guarantee The Foundry’s quality levels for years to come. All five of Chris' main vineyard sources are on granite derived soils and the focus is unsurprisingly on Rhône varieties.
But it isn’t all about consistency: in the winery, he allows for each vintage’s variability by refusing to keep to a specific recipe for production. Again, each grape variety is treated according to its own character, and vinification practices are carefully altered from one year to the next to allow the grapes’ natural character to express itself.