In 1997 Andrew Gunn, an engineer by training, bought land in the Kogelberg overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Elgin, South Africa. After purchasing the farm, Gunn began examining the climate’s history and determined that the conditions on the 420m high mountain plateau were similar to those in the famed Bordeaux region.
Named after a Scottish island, Iona’s altitude and cool summer winds blowing off the Atlantic Ocean contribute to a unique environment and ensure that the wine’s sugar, pH, acid and flavor compounds are in perfect balance. Iona is located on one of the coolest climate sites in South Africa and they harvest up to 4 weeks later than other regions in South Africa.
The first vines were planted in 1998, and the wines have quickly established a cult following for their Sauvignon Blanc. Niels Verburg, the winemaker, enjoys elegant wines that truly reflect their site, and at Iona he makes wines that are unique and flavorful but low in alcohol.