Franschhoek: 10 names to know
By Christian Eedes, 19 November 2019
This property was acquired in 1994 by the late Tim Rands, founder of distribution company Vinimark. He appointed a young Marc Kent as winemaker, who quickly established this as one of South Africa’s most highly regarded labels – much of the wines from bought-in grapes but those that are made from Franschhoek vineyards outstandingly good.
Franschhoek Cellar is now a brand belonging to producer-wholesaler DGB, the wines under this label typically incorporating grapes from outside the valley. The brand home on the main road of Franschhoek, however, is a tourism hub with many wine and food options available.
This property, located in the valley of Robertsvlei, a few kilometers from the town of Franschhoek, was acquired by businessman Alistair Wood in 1984, who was one of the first shareholders to break away from the local co-op and go it alone. Winemaker DP Burger was installed in 1991 and still tends some 30ha of vineyard, grapes sold to many of the other leading producers in the district in addition to what gets used for own label.
Gerard Holden and Migo Manz moved to Franschhoek in 2010 so that art dealer Manz could open a gallery. The purchase of some vineyard ensued and now Holden Manz Wine Estate is also home to luxury accommodation, spar and restaurant. Bordeaux University trained Thierry Harberer, a former acolyte of uber-consultant Michel Rolland, is winemaker.
Part of UK entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury hotels and retreats, Dustin Osborne oversees winemaking, a major replanting programme having just been undertaken with the help of consultancy Litmus Wines. Osborne is bullish that he can achieve new heights of quality when these vineyards come online.
This property was acquired in the early 1980s by Richard Friedman, his daughter Nikki the current owner and director of its fortunes. Clayton Reabow, winemaker here since 2007, is inclined to work more and more with Chardonnay, his top-end Mercator 2017 winning him the title of Diners Club Winemaker of the Year last year.
Robin Hamilton, now 84 years old, acquired this property in 1997. Wines were made off-site until Jocelyn Hogan (now making accomplished wines under her own label) was charged with constructing a boutique wine cellar first used in 2008. Current winemaker Irene de Fleuriot took over in late 2010 and has built a reputation for making wines of particular elegance.
La Couronne translates as The Crown, a reference to the famous French warship that brought the French Huguenot settlers to the Cape of Good Hope in 1688. Today the property is owned by businessman Francois Smit, the canny Henk Swart, previously of Alvi’s Drift in Worcester, the general manager and winemaker, his intention being to position this as one of the district’s leading boutique cellars.
La Motte is today owned by Hanneli Koegelenberg, daughter of the late billionaire businessman Anton Rupert. Husband of Hanneli Hein is CEO while winemaker is Edmund Terblanche, who has been there 20 years. Together, they have turned La Motte into a hugely successful brand, total production of own-label wines amounting to some 240 000 cases. This property is also one of the richest in visitor attractions including a remarkable collection of work by artist JH Pierneef.
Owned since 2000 by Duncan Spence, a British businessman who made a success in greeting card printing, this winery recently acquired a new winemaker in the form of Donovan Ackermann, who came across from Gabriëlskloof in Bot River. The very best that this property puts out is the so-called Icon range of wines, foremost among these being an old-vine Semillon called The Pilgrimage (see below).
Sponsored: This content was paid for by the Vignerons de Franschhoek.