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Downes Family Vineyards

Elgin, South Africa
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Known as Shannon Estate in South Africa

Downes Family Vineyards is situated in the Elgin Valley within the Kogelberg Biosphere with mountains on our western boundary and the Palmiet River forming the eastern boundary.

The Elgin Valley, which is regarded as the apple and pear center of South Africa, now has some of the country’s most highly regarded winemakers establishing vineyards in the area, a testament to its obvious winemaking potential.

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We focus on viticulture principles to reflect our commitment to winemaking as an expression of terroir.

Technological surveys ensured that the correct grape variety, clone and rootstock combination was planted in the diverse ancient soil types. The vineyards benefit from the high altitude cool temperatures, abundant rainfall throughout the year, and the prevailing cold summer wind, known as the "Black South-Easter," blowing in from the ocean 12 kilometers away.

Viticulture practices and canopy management enhance longer ripening periods captured in the wines, the broad spectrum of flavors created in the cool climate of our unique terroir! Downes Family Vineyards produce wines from 12 different site-specific vineyard blocks of Pinot Noir, seven blocks of Sauvignon Blanc, a half hectare of Semillon, and the now "work in progress" Viognier.

The exciting Mount Bullet comes from the Merlot vineyard consisting of 5 clones. We strive at Shannon Vineyards to produce wines of complexity and elegance. The name Downes Family Vineyards pays homage to our Irish ancestry.

Our forefathers, the Shannon and Downes families, were from County Cork, Ireland. On the other side, the James families were wine merchants and former owners of the White Horse Pub (1882) in Parsons Green, the City Arms (in the City of London), the Rising Sun (Battersea) and the Marlborough (Chelsea).