Nativo Wines in the Swartland, also known as The Hughes Family Wines is my 155th wine farm visit in South Africa. Nativo means “native” in Spanish and so this is their methodology, their wine is as native and natural to the land as possible – organic and biodynamic.
Billy Hughes, the founder of Nativo wines, comes from Argentina and moved to South Africa in 1990 to pursue his dream in winemaking. Billy and his late wife bought land in Malmesbury which was once used to grow wheat. Little did they know then, today this land forms part of the Swartland region which is highly regarded for producing exceptionally high-quality, dryland wines.
Over the past 30 years, the Hughes family have grown this piece of land into the gem it is today. Billy heads up winemaking which is self-taught and his daughter Kiki runs the sales and marketing – a dream team!
Wine Tasting at Nativo Wines
Wine tasting is hosted by Billy or the winemaker every alternative Saturday at a cost of R200 per person. You will taste their range of wines plus enjoy some cold meats and cheeses to snack on and get a tour of the cellar. You can book directly online here: https://nativo.co.za/farm-visits/
You can also book a “doorstep tasting” which is where the wine comes to you! Pay R900 for a max of 6 people to taste three wines. You must be within a 30km radius of Cape Town and booking in advance is required. You can learn more about it here: https://nativo.co.za/doorstep-tastings/
Definitely a standout experience for me was the natural elegance of this winery, it’s like little to no effort is put into it and yet it is coming out so lovely. The labels are absolutely beautiful designed by artist Heidi Burstein with wax seals!
My favourite was trying the orange wine called Amarillo – a blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc which was allowed extended time on the skins of the grapes giving the wine a bright orange colour. It was like drinking red wine with a beautiful ripe yellow fruit on the palate – a mind bending alternative to the norm.
You can purchase these wines directly from their website. At the moment, there are 5 wines available to purchase. A Mourvedre, the Amarillo (orange wine), a white blend, a red blend and Flora (a white blend using alternative methods).
A cellar experience
I was lucky to visit Nativo Wines during harvest for which Billy was fully kitted out in his orange winemaking jumpsuit which I thought was really rather fun! Billy was happy and proud to show us around the vines and cellar whilst all the action was happening.
The cellar was in full swing getting Voigner grapes in and the team were busy pressing the juice as we arrived. A truly incredible experience to witness how this boutique cellar and a small team can move grapes at such speed. By trade, Billy is an engineer and so he even designed his own wine press!
An Organic and Biodynamic Philosophy
All the wines at Nativo are certified organic which means that under strict regulations they are prohibited the use of chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. It is extremely hard to get organically certified and so I commend this family winery for sticking it out and getting this recognition.
What I also didn’t know until I visited is that Nativo Wines is also biodynamic which means that they follow a certain guide on subtle energies and the influence of planets / the cosmos on the performance of living things. There is literally such a thing as a biodiversity calendar that tells you when you should harvest or even drink the produce. It is really something quite interesting!
I spent about 3 – 4 hours at Nativo wines and it went by in a flash! I felt so welcomed by Billy and Kiki and really enjoyed tasting the wines and learning about how they were made.
The tasting room can host up to about 8 people and I would recommend that you try to arrive in a SUV or 4 x 4 because you will be going off-road for a while. I would not recommend this visit for children unless they are well behaved. The tasting venue is indoors so you could go on a sunny or cold day.
Contact Nativo Wines
Address: The Old Road to Moorreesburg, Malmesbury
General, Farming & Production
Tastings, Sales & Marketing