Villiera is a large, family-owned estate on the borders of the Paarl and Stellenbosch wine regions in South Africa. The estate takes its name from the Villiers family who were former property owners. Since 1983 Villiera has been run by the Grier family: cousins Simon and Jeff Grier are in charge of viticulture and winemaking respectively and have consistently upheld the quality of the wines. The family quietly gives a large percentage of its land over to conservation as part of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative as well as planting thousands of indigenous trees and maintaining a wildlife sanctuary. One of the early supporters of ‘green’ viticulture, viticulturist Simon Grier has always been a keen supporter of maintaining environmentally friendly vineyard practices. The farm has not sprayed insecticides for the past thirteen years and a flock of 1000 Peking ducks are responsible for some natural pest control. The Grier’s are also responsible for running several social upliftment projects off the farm, including a day care centre for educating the 30-odd children, belonging to Villiera’s farm workers, and an after-school club. There is also a commitment to the Pebbles Project, teaching the kids the benefits of environmental awareness. Overall the Grier family’s approach is one of understatement as exemplified by their Down to Earth house wines which are triumphant blends of ripe fruit with distinct varietal character. The mantra here is ‘turn the ordinary into an occasion’ which the Griers certainly manage to deliver through extraordinary wines.
The Villiera Jasmine was fashioned to fill a gap in the market for a light, somewhat sweet, floral blend – hence the moniker of the wine. A combination of three very aromatic cultivars: Muscat, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer. The result is an off-dry wine that is indeed floral but also delicately spicy, and refreshing and subtly sweet on the palate.