South African Shiraz, Perfect for Those Cooler Evenings


Down in southern Africa, winter is approaching so the nights are starting to get cooler, a perfect time to break out a bottle of Shiraz. We have just added the Raka “Biography” Shiraz 2009 to our wine list.

Raka is based in a glen in the Kleinrivier mountains about 17 km outside Stanford which is close to Hermanus in South Africa.

The farm is owned by the Dreyer family. Piet Dreyer’s father was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident when he was sixteen and so he had to help his mother support the family. He became a fisherman and caught fish over weekends and after school on a friends fishing boat. Piet loved the sea and fishing and grew from ski-boat owner to freezer-vessel owner. He became very well known amongst the squid fishing community.



Piet and Gerhard Dreyer still run Raka Marine and have eight fishing vessels

From Piet’s experience of having squid squirting black ink all over the boats, Piet decided to have himself a black freezer-vessel built so that he did not have to repaint it that often. He named the vessel RAKA from the Afrikaans poem by N.P. van wyk Louw about an African tribe being threatened by Raka, half man half beast and black as the night.

The Raka family purchased the farm in 1999 and Piet took his brand with equal passion into wine making – hence the slogan “Born of the sea, guided by the stars, blessed by the earth”.

Raka Farm

The picturesque Raka Farm situated 17 km outside of Stanford.

Piet and Elna Dreyer have three sons and a daughter. Gerhard, the eldest, went into squid fishing. Josef, the second son, is Raka’s wine maker. Youngest son, Pieter, is a student, destined to become Raka’s viticulturist.  Jorika, the only daughter, manages Raka’s tasting room.  The Raka “Biography” Shiraz is a 100% Shiraz. The wine was aged in a combination of 225 lt barrels of 85% French and 15% American oak for 12 months.


There is a strong aroma of white pepper with notes of black berry, violets and vanilla on the palate.

Rich Laburn
Rich Laburn is filmmaker, photographer and writer who is based at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Spending his time capturing scenes of the wild and communicating the beauty of the African bushveld, he runs the Londolozi Blog as a way to entertain and engage people wishing to visit these wild lands.
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