Traditions worth celebrating

Cape wine farm Villiera has been making Cap Classique for Woolies for more than two decades, Find out more about this award-winning family-run winery.

The story of Villiera starts and ends – or rather – continues with the Grier family. Jeff Grier is the founder and cellarmaster of this award-winning Stellenbosch wine farm, having started it in 1983 with his cousin Simon, after they had studied winemaking and agriculture respectively at Stellenbosch University. It is now a celebrated producer of excellent wines you've probably seen on Woolies shelves. The estate is particularly well-known for its Cap Classique, and with good reason: it makes up nearly 35% of the wine it produces. The focus on sparkling wine stems from a visit by Jean Louis Denois, a French Champagne specialist, who taught them the ropes. The result? Some of South Africa's most acclaimed Cap Classique.

Sustainable farming practices

Overseen by Simon, Villiera's Stellenbosch vineyards stretch for an impressive 170 hectares and are surrounded by impressive mountain views. The grapes planted here are an even split between red and white, and all are grown with sustainability in mind. One charming example of these nature-focused practices is the flock of roughly 1 000 white Peking ducks that the farm employs to eat snails – a notorious grape pest. As a result of their efforts, the Griers avoid using insecticide in their vineyards.

Skill in the cellar

The cellar is Jeff's domain, although he knows the rest of the farm like the back of his hand. With over three decades of winemaking experience under his belt, Jeff is a Cape Wine Master and a highly respected member of the local and international wine community. His nephew Alexander, or Xander, and Nathan Valentine work under his watchful eye to create the range of wines for which Viliiera is known. Xander boasts a BSc in Food Science from Stellenbosch University, as well as over a decade of winemaking experience in South Africa and overseas. The cellar itself is impressive, and able to handle 2 800 tons of grapes in the production of Villiera's wines. Each varietal is treated differently and handled with care to ensure it loses none of its distinctive tastes and aromas while still accurately reflecting in the unique terroir.

Expert bubbly advice

We had the pleasure of speaking to Jeff about the best ways to enjoy bubbly. When asked for his favourite food and Cap Classique pairing, crayfish and Woolworths' Signature Cap Classique Vintage Brut gets his vote. He also recommends roast chicken but warns against pork or beef as they might overpower the comparatively delicate Cap Classique. And for dessert: I love a rosé Cap Classique paired with strawberries and cream. It's not too sweet, and the colours are complimentary."


As fo storage Jeff says, Cap Classique needs to be stored upright, not lying down, in a cool, dark, humid place at around 12°C. If it's time to pop the cork and the bottle's a bit warm? He suggests: "Ten minutes. submerged in an ice bucket, containing ice and some water for proper contact."

Villiera has produced an exclusive Woolworths house range of Cap Classique for over two decades, forming a long-lasting relationship through the excellence of the product. The estate provides five kinds of bubbly: a Brut , Brut Natural, Light Brut. Brut Rosé, and a Demi-Sec. Each is elegant and complex, with a fine mousse that reflects the skill of the winemakers.

The still wines are not to be forgotten, with a particularly well-structured Chenin Blanc being an ideal partner for a wamr summer's day. If you're unsure of what to serve before a meal, Jeff's got you covered: "The Brut Natural (zero dosage). The extra dry, savoury nature of this style ensures stimulation of the taste buds.:

No matter what you opt for, you're in good hands with the Grier family's wines.