Alheit Vineyards

Nautical Dawn

Fire by Night is a single origin Chenin Blanc wine grown on our own Paardeberg property called Nuwedam. The Paardeberg holds a mythical place in our hearts. It is both ground zero for the quality revolution that’s sweeping the Cape, and home base for some of our country’s wine heroes. Previously under-valued, the Paardeberg sports an embarrassment of riches: pure decomposed granite soil and an abundance of dry-farmed old bushvines.

The Story Behind Nautical Dawn


Situated on a high ridge (300-350m above sea-level) in the heart of the Paardeberg, Nuwedam is home to 20 Ha of mature dry farmed bushvine Chenin Blanc. The soil is pure decomposed granite, yielding wines of clarity and focus. Our vineyards were planted between 1972 and 1985 on various slopes, some facing East, some West, some North. This gives us a palette of options to work with to make our best possible wine from the property each vintage. These vines are our pride and joy. Their roots go deep, grabbing life out of the granite, humming their secret tune, calling your near.

learn more about the vineyards
Nautical Dawn

Technical Details

100% Chenin Blanc (Bushvines)
Wine of origin Stellenbosch
Production 5996 bottles and 180 magnums
Bottling May 15 2024
Alcohol 12.49%
RS 1.7g/l
TA 5.85g/l
PH 3.31

Nautical Dawn is the phase of dawn that occurs between astrological dawn and civilian dawn. It’s a mysterious time of day – dark enough to see the stars for navigation, light enough to hoist a sail. We wanted a name that would take you close to the sea and facing East.

Winemaking and Maturation

The grapes were hand sorted and whole bunch pressed. The juice is very lightly settled (we like very cloudy raw juice) with no additions to the raw juice, wild fermentation in cement eggs, foudres, and old barrels of various sizes. Fermentation lasted for about one month. The wine was kept on lees for around 12 months, then rested in tank on fine lees without fining for a further five months prior to bottling. Very simple, careful winemaking.

Tasting Notes

This vintage really captures the beauty of the Paardeberg: clean air, mountain herbs, tight and pithy, sprung with coiled up energy, spring water purity, an impression finely etched in granite. The nose shows some lovely flinty reduction, green citrus, and thatch. The palate is high energy, high fidelity, pure and racy. The finish is bracing and long.

download the full 2023 vintage fact sheet