Waterval Farm, Paardeberg


farm and family history





Waterval is one of the oldest farms in the Pardeberg, with an ancient old thatched roof farmhouse dating back to the late 18th Century. Like most surrounding farms at that time, Waterval had a diverse output of fruit orchards, vegetables and livestock to name a few. Over time and with the rise and formation of Swartland Co-op in the late 1940’s, farms started to concentrate on planting more grapes. Waterval has been in the Schreiber family since 1947. Father and son team, Cyril and Barry built up the farm and vineyards for most of their lives. Soon after graduating from Elsenburg, third generation Franziska joined her father Barry. Gradually she began to take the ‘reins’ into her own hands, combining old school knowledge and experience from the older generation with a fresh outlook and modern techniques.

Waterval has been in the Schreiber family since 1947.
Here, Franziska uses modern farming techniques while remembering the older generation's methods.


The old original vineyards that consisted mostly of Semillon, Palomino, False Pedro and Clairette Blanche were gradually re-planted over the decades. Today Chenin Blanc and Semillon dominate. It was Barry's vision to preserve much of the old original plant material in small vineyards for future generations. Today these old bush vine blocks are highly sought after by winemakers. Traditional red varieties such as Cinsault, Grenache and Tinta Barocca were also planted to compliment Shiraz, Carignan and Touriga Nacional. Today there is a healthy balance of old and young vineyards. From low yielding bushvines of the early 1960s to more recent plantings. On average, one hectare of vineyards are planted per year to stay ahead of the rejuvenation process. The location and grape variety determine if irrigation or trellising will be needed for the establishment of new vineyards.

Terroir & Climate

The farm is situated on the northern side of the Paardeberg, within the Siebritskloof valley located on the southern border of the Swartland.The Paardeberg Mountain is a 500 million year old intrusion of magma and after millions of years of erosion it stands proud with its domes of granite. The mountain has a significant influence on the microclimate. The average rainfall of the farm is 550mm per year and temperatures are significantly cooler than the surrounding Swartland. As the valley runs in a north/south direction the morning and late afternoon shade directly influences the temperature and direct sunlight hours. In summer, the day and night temperature differences averages 15 - 20°C which has a positive effect on flavour development in the grapes and the retaining of natural acidity. All the vineyards are planted on granite derived soils. The soil may differ from rocky, clay-rich to deep sand or fertile loam on the valley floor.

The Cellar

Wine production in the old cellar was stopped in the late 1930’s with the formation of the local wine cooperative. It took almost 90 years before grapes were welcomed back to the now renovated cellar, by young winemaker Jasper Wickens. The cellar remains low tech and many traditional wine making methods are still followed. Swerwer wines are made to best express where they come from. Each grape variety is treated in such a way that it is allowed to fully express itself, this allows for a liberal approach in the cellar. A minimum intervention approach is followed as set out by the Swartland Independent Producer guidelines. The wines are fermented with no artificial additives. Care is taken not to over extract the red varieties. New oak is avoided and fining processes are never used. Only light filtration and minimal added sulphur is allowed, to keep the integrity of the wine in check after bottling.