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Tembela Wines



Stellenbosch - South Africa


Banele has been producing Syrah under his Tembela label now for three years. In 2021, he sourced his grapes from two sites, one in the Swartland, and one closer to home in Constantia. In 2022, Banele made the switch to the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch on sandy, decomposed granite soils, which bring an inherent minerality and freshness to the wine. As for the watercolor label, Banele wanted a simple painting that commemorated his mother, not just by her name, but by her image. Tembela is in the foreground with a basket on her head, and after much back and forth with the artist, Banele decided to add a second woman in the background to symbolize connections to community and place.

The grapes were harvested on separate days and brought back to the Savage Wines cellar where Banele vinifies his wines in Salt River. After de-stemming, about 30% stems were added back in according to their smell, aiming for black pepper but not too much astringency, before spontaneous fermentation began. About two punchdowns per day were made during fermentation, and when that was finished after about three weeks, the wine was transferred to an old 600L barrel and left to mature for 10 months. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration and just a touch (29 ppm) of sulfur.


  • Grapes: 100% Syrah
  • Vineyard: Carinus Vineyard - Karibib Vineyard (Polkadraai Hills)
  • Vine Age: 20-years-old
  • Soil Type: Sandy soils with a little bit of granite
  • Viticulture: Sustainable
  • Fermentation: Native — open-top plastic fermenter (100% de-stemmed with 30% stems added back)
  • Skin Contact: 3 weeks
  • Aging: 10 months in 600L neutral barrels
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • pH: 3.66
  • Total Acidity: 5.3 g/L
  • Total SO2: 29 ppm
  • Total Production: 70 cases

Tasting Notes

On the nose, there are beautiful aromatics of black fruits, black pepper, forest floor, and fynbos. The medium-bodied palate is bursting with freshness and minerality, backed by fine tannins. Partial stem inclusion during fermentation leads to an herbal, peppery finish.

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