After travelling extensively in Portugal and Austria learning his craft, Craig Hawkins returned to South Africa to establish his own winery alongside his wife, Carla. The Hawkins now make wines under the El Bandito and Baby Bandito labels from various small, organic vineyard sites in Swartland, using minimal intervention in the winery to make the wines as restrained and finely balanced as possible.
They both favour whole bunch fermentations (no carbonic though) in open tanks and then press into oak barrels of varying sizes (from 400-3000 litres) for ageing. Macerations are short and extraction is gentle for the reds so that the wines are fruity and crunchy at the same time.
All ferments are with natural yeasts, uninoculated, ambient and are done in small vessels to keep the temperatures naturally cool. Wines are racked according to need and are aged on the lees. All wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined. A small amount of sulphur is used on most cuvees, sometimes at racking, sometimes just before bottling.