Johannesburg's Very First Winery Is Now Open

The Johannesburg winery produces two styles of Chenin Blanc and Syrah
The Johannesburg winery produces two styles of Chenin Blanc and Syrah | © Hug A Tree Photography
Photo of Carina Claassens
12 June 2018

The City of Gold isn’t particularly known for its wineries, so to say that locals were delighted when the very first one opened is an understatement. Gerakaris Family Wines is a must-visit when in town, and here’s why.

Keep it in the family

The family business is run by husband-and-wife duo Kath and Minos Gerakaris, and their wines are named after their children, Elli and Thomas. Situated in the leafy suburb of Craighall, Gerakaris Family Wines uses the best quality grapes and their wines are produced on site, from fermentation to bottling.

‘Very important to us is the property that we are located on, which is owned by the REEA Foundation. They are a charity caring for adults living with epilepsy and mild mental disorders who cannot live at home. It’s a true urban farm, with everything from horse stables, a large organic vegetable garden, the popular Delta Café, a nursery, charity shop and more. As such, it has a wonderful, family friendly atmosphere perfect for day outings’, Kath explains.

The beautiful venue can be booked for private functions | © Hug A Tree Photography

All about the wine

Due to the fact that they don’t grow their own grapes, Gerakaris Family Wines isn’t a wine estate per se. That doesn’t, however, take away from the quality and taste of their products. ‘I bring up Chenin Blanc and Syrah (Shiraz) from the Swartland overnight in a cold truck. The grapes arrive in perfect condition at 6ºC the next day’, says Kath. The quaint winery produces two styles each of Chenin Blanc and Syrah and is open for tastings and sales.

Kath mentions how each wine is unique: ‘the Ellaki Chenin Blanc is fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled around May, the object being to capture the fruit characters of the grapes. The Elli Chenin is fermented in barrels and aged for nine months to create a structured white wine that is great with food in a very traditional way. The Tom and Thomas Syrahs are barrel selections made late November – Tom captures the essence of Swartland Syrah, while Thomas is more complex, more tannic, contains fruit, a minerality typical of the Swartland terroir and lightly fragrant white pepper. All fermentations are done with wild yeast, no filtering and low sulphur’.

The business has a strong focus on family-ties | © Hug A Tree Photography

Visit Gerakaris Family Wines at 20 Marlborough Avenue, Craighall Park. Tasting room hours are 12 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.