04 Dec 2023 Graham Beck celebrates four sparkling decades
Graham Beck is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a leading sparkling wine producer….
Founded in 1983, the House has been firmly established as a leading producer of Cap Classique, South Africa’s premium Champagne method sparkling wine. It has led the burgeoning industry in quality and sustainability since its inception.
Over the past four decades, Graham Beck has continued to establish a key position in the global market, garnering recognition as the leading producer of Cap Classique locally and in the UK and the US.
Today, Graham Beck is available in more than 40 countries, with Cap Classique becoming a comparable alternative to Champagne and offering a solid competitive price point to the likes of Prosecco, Cava, and Sekt.
A pioneer in Robertson
“In 1983, our founder, Graham Beck, stood under the night sky in Robertson with a starry-eyed dream to produce South Africa’s finest bottle-fermented sparkling wine,” says Pieter Ferreira, Graham Beck’s Chief Operations Officer and founding winemaker.
“We celebrate our growth and the impact we have had on each employee and partner since the inception of the House of Graham Beck forty years ago”.
In the early 1980s, Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek were known wine-producing regions. Still, Graham Beck was among the first to see the premium winemaking potential in the lesser-known Robertson region. Beck believed that sparkling wine varieties would grow well there due to the limestone-rich soils and the large diurnal shift in Robertson, which mirrored climatic conditions in Champagne.
Pieter Ferreira was appointed Cellar Master in 1990 and completed Graham Beck’s first harvest in 1991, literally under the stars, because the cellar roof was not completed in time.
Ferreira has led over 30 harvests at Graham Beck, and is now the COO. Today, Cellar Master Pierre De Klerk is at the helm of the cellar, having worked under the mentorship of Ferreira for over a decade.
De Klerk and the seasoned vineyard and cellar crew are responsible for maintaining the consistent House style for which Graham Beck is renowned. Only two cellar masters in 40 years testify to Graham Beck’s dedication to quality and commitment to their team.
A legacy of excellence
The House’s consistent passion and dedication to mastery have resulted in various awards and accolades over the years. Graham Beck NV Brut was chosen as the celebratory beverage at the election of the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and the sparkling wine that was poured for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in 2008.
The 2009 Blanc de Blancs won the trophy for best sparkling wine in the world at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
In a recent highlight, the Graham Beck Cuvée Clive was named ‘Sparkling Wine of the Year’ for the fifth time in Tim Atkin’s 2023 South African Report. Adding to these achievements, the 2009 Extra Brut 157 was honoured as the ‘Sparkling Wine Discovery of the Year.’ Further testament to Graham Beck’s commitment to excellence, the Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2018 and Extra Brut 157 have been recently awarded the prestigious 5-star rating in the 2024 Platters by Diners Club Wine Guide.
“There are approximately a million bubbles in every glass. So, does the ‘perfect bubble’ truly exist? Whether you deem it a tangible goal or a mere pipedream, at the House of Graham Beck, it forms the core of our philosophy. This phrase captures our ceaseless journey towards achieving the most refined and consistent effervescence. It embodies the dedication, the attention to detail, and the commitment to quality we maintain. It reflects our aspiration to be masters in our field. And that’s a belief we hold a million times over,” reflects Pieter.
In addition to being a leader in Cap Classique production, Graham Beck is a leader in conservation, and was the second winery in South Africa to be awarded Conservation Champion Status from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2004.
Graham Beck partnered with neighbouring farms to found Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy in 2006, preserving nearly 16,000 hectares in the Cape Floral Kingdom, a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot. Today, for every hectare planted to agriculture or vineyard, 8.25 hectares of natural vegetation are conserved.
For more information, visit https://grahambeck.com/