Bouchard Finlayson

Bouchard Finlayson WinesBouchard Finlayson was established as a collaboration between Paul Bouchard, a Burgundiannégociant, and Peter Finlayson, arguably the king of Burgundian grapes in South Africa.

The winery lies in the small valley of Hemel-en-Aarde ('heaven and earth'), a stone's throw from the sea near South Africa's southernmost point in the Walker Bay region. The climate here is greatly influenced both by the nearby Atlantic and the protection of the surrounding mountains: the latter traps the cloud cover and moisture brought from the sea by the ocean breezes. The result is warm rather than hot summers, and frost-free, mild winters. This is one of the coolest regions in the Cape, and the grapes ripen more slowly, intensifying their flavours.

Award-winning winemaker Peter Finlayson gained his qualifications in the 1970s, both at Stellenbosch University and Geisenheim in the Rheingau. His frequent trips to Burgundy helped forge a friendship with Paul Bouchard, and their joint venture makes him the first winemaker to settle in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Unsurprisingly, Burgundy has a marked influence on Bouchard Finlayson's practices, both in the cellar and in the vineyard. Of the 22 hectares under vine, 50% is pinot noir, with the remainder mostly comprising chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Interestingly, Peter also planted Italian varieties like nebbiolo, barbera, andsangiovese, with some success.

The company uses Burgundian techniques like high-density planting, which restricts root growth and promotes competition, and pruning around 35% of the fruit to give the remaining grapes better access to nutrients. Both of these techniques concentrate flavour. The clay-shale soils secure a source of moisture, and the north-south facing slopes take full advantage of the sun as it passes from east to west.

Bouchard Finlayson also sources some of its grapes from nearby vineyard sites. The most significant of these is the Kaaimansgat, or 'crocodile's lair', vineyard which towers 700m above sea level. Here it is even cooler, and a perfect haven for chardonnay grapes. The grapes from this vineyard make Crocodile's Lair Chardonnay, which was first produced in 1992, illustrating how long Bouchard Finlayson maintains relationships with its appointed grape growers.

The riesling and viognier used in Bouchard Finlayson's Blanc de Mer are also sometimes sourced from nearby vineyards, although the company does now plant its own riesling too.

The winery is a point of pride, so much so that it appears on the company's labels. Fitted with state-of-the-art machinery, it boasts stainless-steel and concrete vats, air-conditioned cellars, and the finest French oak barrels sourced from a tiny cooperage in Burgundy.

Members' Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article.

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.