national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Post House is an unusual name for a wine farm.

This farm is just off the main road between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, in the foothills of the Helderberg mountain, seven kilometres from the False Bay coast. The name stems from the fact that there used to be a post office here, occupying part of the farm’s homestead and serving a local Methodist missionary community. The original red post box still stands at the entrance to the cellar.

The farm was bought in 1981 by the late Hermann Gebers and today the owner and winemaker is his son, Nicholas Gebers. The first bottling of wine was in 1997, and the property now has 40 hectares under vines and produces 4,500 cases of own label wines a year, plus grapes that are sold to other cellars.

Dense, dark red wines are the keynote of Post House Wines, to give its full name, although the farm does produce good whites as well, a chenin blanc and a blend. The flagship is a red blend of merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot with about 5 percent white chenin blanc. It is called Penny Black, after the famous stamp issued in Britain in 1840 bearing a picture of Queen Victoria. More than 68 million of these one-penny stamps were printed and, not surprisingly, there are still many in existence.

The stamp terminology is continued in two other wines from Post House, a chenin blanc/sauvignon blanc blend called Bluish White and a red blend, mainly shiraz and pinotage, called Bluish Black. The name comes historically from a United States stamp called the Lincoln Bluish because the stamps (honouring President Abraham Lincoln) were printed on slightly blue paper.

Nick Gebers says that in the Penny Black “the merlot and cabernet sauvignon are fairly masculine in style and the chenin blanc lifts the wine, giving it more finesse and a feminine touch and adding a touch of spice”.

It really is a splendid wine. The newly released 2006 vintage has a dark colour and berry, blackcurrant, chocolate and spice flavours and aromas, and it is a big, weighty wine, 15 percent alcohol. It comes in an impressive black bottle with an austere and dignified label, and at R120 a bottle it is a wine for a special occasion.

Other reds in the Post House range are a merlot, a cabernet sauvignon and the Bluish Black.

The cellar’s whites include a fine Post House Chenin Blanc 2008. This is another big wine (14 percent alcohol), and it has rich flavours of tropical fruits, citrus and pineapple. The retail price is about R65.

Nick Gebers, who is married with three young children, was interested in art and was studying marketing at university when he decided ten years ago to take up winemaking. He says that Post House wines owe much to the soils of the area, to low yield vines and to careful vineyard management.

Post House, which is about 40 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, has a two-bedroom guest cottage, and tastings and sales are available on weekdays. Phone 021 842 2409. – Michael Green