The design of the winery is based on principles of gentle handling, visual control, maximum insulation capacity and natural gravity flow.

 Winery - Vergelegen Estate - Somerset West, Winelands, South Africa - cellar construction - Vergelegen Wine Estate, Western Cape, Helderberg, South Africa [2005 © Vergelegen Estate -]


Of the four levels, only one level (harvest plaza and visitor level) is visible above the ground. The other three working levels (red wine fermentation platform, main tank floor with bottling room and the barrel cellar) lie buried 11 metres under the ground in a tower configuration that allows for gravitational flow and gentle handling.

Important principles

A return towards simplicity and craftsmanship in winemaking through:

Winery - Vergelegen Estate - Somerset West, Winelands, South Africa - no info for VG_900060 [IB/VG_900060]
  • Gentle handling producing the most elegant wines, particularly while skins are still in contact with the juice,
  • Eliminating, where possible, machines such as augers, pumps and rototanks,
  • The design of a compact structure that allows for maximum visual control,
  • Barrel and bottle storage areas that are buried to maximise the soil's insulation capacity,
  • A gravity flow system using the process of harvest above fermentation above press above barrels.

Other characteristics

  • There is an 800 mm cavity between the soil face and the building wall,
  • A ramp to the main tank floor provides access for materials,
  • The slabs inside the building are supported by 600 mm columns that rise about 16 m