Ernie Els Wines was established in 1999. As a professional golfer Ernie had travelled globally, and in doing so had tasted some of the world's greatest wines. Ernie developed an enthusiasm for fine wines, especially red wines and in particular Bordeaux. He decided that he would like to pursue his passion and create his own wine range. Ernie was a leading ambassador for South Africa, and he wanted to produce world-class wines that would represent his country in the same way. Ernie was friends with Jean Engelbrecht, the owner of the Rust en Vrede wine estate in Stellenbosch, and he helped him to break into the wine business. But in time Ernie was able to stand alone, and officially opened his own winery in the Helderberg region of Stellenbosch in 2005. The winery has become an iconic symbol of the region with its magnificent location, framed by panoramic views of Table Mountain to the west and Stellenbosch and the Helderberg Mountains to the east. The vines are planted at between 140 and 270 metres above sea level on the north-facing sides of the Helderberg Mountains, where the soils are granite derived sandstone and shale red soils of mainly Tukulu and Oakleaf soil types. There is a particular emphasis on the Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety to showcase Ernie's love of Bordeaux and red wines. There are 9 different Cabernet clones specially selected for their specific qualities, including Cabernet Sauvignon 412 clone from the Gironde. In 2014 it was the first of its kind to be planted for commercial sale in South Africa. In addition, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Chenin Blanc are cultivated. The climate here is warm Mediterranean; the area is known as the Golden Triangle, stretching from the foothills of the Helderberg to the edge of the Stellenbosch Mountains and has long been celebrated for its exceptional soils which produce outstanding red wines. Since the first vintage in 2000 the wines have been crafted by Louis Strydom [former winemaker at Rust en Vrede], he is regarded as one of South Africa's finest winemakers. The wines comprise four collections: the powerful flagship Signature Bordeaux style blend; the Major Series varietal red wines: the Big Easy, as the name suggests easy drinking fruit-forward wines, (“The Big Easy” is Ernie's nickname, due to the combination of his imposing 6ft 3in height and his fluid golf swing); and the Proprietor's rich full-bodied red wines, either single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah or composed of the six red grape varieties grown on the estate. Ernie Els is a South African golf legend, he has had extraordinary sporting success, and his award-winning wines are doing the same, all impressed with the unique character of South Africa!