The Origin of the Vines.
In order to know where we are going, we need to know where we came from.
South Africa has a rich and diverse history which has blended into our hearts that our differences make us unique and strong. As we share a brief history of the vines with you, we like to look at each variety, in the same way, celebrating differences.
Starting back in 1655 the first Vineyard was planted, and four years later Jan van Riebeeck made the very first wine. This lead to many of the farms and area's we know today, like Stellenbosch, which was founded in 1679.
Simon van der Stel first planted Constantia vines in 1965, and by 1688 the French Huguenots settled in a valley which we now know as Franschoek.
By the mid-1700s, Constantia had become famous in Europe for the sweet wine they produced, even Jane Austen and Napoleon are recorded enjoying it.
By 1886, the tragic decimation of South African Wines was seen and Phylloxera was detected.
The recovery took a while and motivated the first co-op winery to be established in 1906 in Tulbagh. Shortly hereafter, KWV was established, becoming South Africa Wine Farmers Association with legislative powers and industry control.
By 1925 the very talented Stellenbosch University’s Professor, Abraham Perold, crossed Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsaut) to produce Pinotage.
The first Pinotage sold commercially was under the Lanzerac label in 1961.
This momentum continued in the South African wine industry, after which Lieberstein broke the world record with 31-million litres sold in 1964.
By 1971 the first wine route was established, which still exists, foundering Delheim, Simonsig and Spier.
The first vintage of Kanonkop wines under Kanonkop labels was in 1973, and 7 years later the first Platter's South African Wine Guide was released.
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley created its first wine by 1981, and Meerlust Estate launched the first of many iconic red blends, known as the Rubicon.
1991 was the first national bottled wine show, which is now known as the Veritas rewards, Two years hereafter, the first consumer WINE magazine was launched.
Much has happened after this date, and we continue to grow and learn. The lesson we have seen numerous times is to keep moving forward despite any obstacles.
Happy Heritage day.