Natural Wine in South Africa


3 min read


Jim Clarke (Wines of South Africa)

Craig Hawkins (Testalonga) Grower & Maker


Meet Craig Hawkins, described as the ‘Natural Wine King of South Africa’ - not a title he has endorsed, but one that reflects his influence on the natural wine scene here. Craig and his wife Carla set up the Swartland wine brand Testalonga in 2008 with a commitment to making wines with “grapes and nothing else”. Craig’s philosophy is to embrace a single grape variety on a single soil type, with a clear emphasis on Mediterranean varieties. All the vineyards are organic and in the winemaking there’s no added yeast, acid, or tannin, and no fining or filtration.

Craig has always steered away from the mainstream approach to winemaking and was even considered ‘out there’ for the Swartland. From the very beginning he has had a clear vision of the wines he wanted to make and the approach to them. He and Carla now sell their wines to 29 countries with the UK and Japan being the largest individual markets; within South Africa his work has inspired a similar approach in many of his peers. Craig’s passion for natural wines is infectious and he is one of the world’s most influential winemakers in shaping the category worldwide.

Jim Clarke (Wines of South Africa)

Jim Clarke is the U.S. Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa. Prior to joining WOSA in 2013 Jim was the wine director at Armani Ristorante and Megu, both in New York City. He is also a writer, regularly contributing to a number of trade and consumer publications including World of Fine Wine, Club Oenologique, and Fortune.

In 2020 Jim received the International Louis Roederer Wine Writer Award for Feature Writing and in August of that year Wine Business Monthly named Jim as a Wine Industry Leader of the Year.

Jim is the author of The Wines of South Africa, published by Infinite Ideas as part of the Classic Wine Library in July 2020.

Craig Hawkins (Testalonga)

Grower & Maker

Craig started making wine when he was 25 and after travelling around the world for six years doing harvests in South Africa, Austria, France, Spain and Portugal, he saw huge variations between vintages and realised that no one in South Africa was making skin macerated white wines. Inspired by Mr Antonio Perrino’s skin contact Vermentino, he came back to South Africa and couldn’t find any Skin Macerated white wines. It was then that his conviction to make Orange wines took firm roots. In 2008 Craig used an old vineyard from Lammershoek in the Paardeberg, Swartland planted in 1972 to make his first Skin Macerated white wine, and first wine under his own label.

Since then his brand has grown and his philosophy of “Made From Grapes” still stands. All his vineyards are organically farmed and in the cellar minimal intervention (no yeast, acids etc) has been the mainstay since 2008. Craig and his wife, Carla, now make wines called El Bandito, Baby Bandito and soon-to-be-released Bandits Kloof, which is the name of their farm.


Wines of South Africa (WoSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 producers on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It is constituted as a not-for-profit company and is totally independent of any producer or wholesaling company. It is also independent of any government department, although it is recognised by government as an Export Council.

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