Welcome to Lanzerac Estate

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Brief History of Stellenbosch
The town of Stellenbosch developed from a colony of settlers to whom land had been granted on the banks of the Eerste River. The name Stellenbosch was given to a small island in the Eerste River by Simon van der Stel, Commander of the Cape, who had encamped there with his entourage in 1679.The valley was fertile and particularly suited to agriculture and the riverbanks and surrounding areas well wooded by beautiful tall trees. The Dutch East India Company intended that fruit and vegetables be grown here to supply ships en-route to and from the West Indies. The early settlers were encouraged to plant oak trees, and the country’s second oldest town (after Cape Town) became affectionately known as “Eikestad”, own of oaks. 

In 1859, after years spent seeking permission from the authorities, a theological seminary was established and this led to the town’s proud heritage as a leading educational centre. In 1918, a university was founded and this was followed by the subsequent establishment of many other educational instructions. Today the impact of many architectural influences over the last three centuries – Cape Dutch, Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Cape Dutch Revival – are to be seen in the meticulously restored buildings situated in the charming town centre and on the surrounding wine farms. Follow the R310 right into the town of Stellenbosch; pass the station and the stop at the bottom end of Merriman Avenue. From here you will have the best view of Stellenbosch’s mountain panorama; to the right the Helderberg, Stellenbosch Mountain (1,175m); with Jonkershoek Valley and Twin Peaks (1,494m) in the distance; to the east the Simonsberg (1,390m) which is connected to Botmaskop and the rest of Jonkershoek mountains by the saddle of Helshoogte.

 

History of the Hotel
In 1692, a considerable tract of land in the Jonkershoek valley of Stellenbosch was granted by Governor Simon van der Stel, partly to Isaac Schrijver, who before taking out free papers had been a copper prospector and an ensign and partly to three freed slaves – Manuel and Anthony of Angola and Louis of Bengal. Schrijver, who named the farm Schoongezicht and planted vineyards. It is presumed that the land passed to his widow Anna Hoeks and then to a granddaughter, Maria van Coninshoven. The land granted to the three slaves is thought to have been incorporated into Schoongezicht. Van Coningshoven married Jacob Hasselaar and their daughter Anna Hasselaar, who married Chrstoffel Groenewald, then inherited the property. In 1790, Schoongezicht was transferred from her estate to Coenraad Johannes Albertyn, and from him to Carolus Lynis in 1808.Records show that the farm was immediately transferred from Lynis to Coenraad Johannes Fick, who in 1811, erected a number of outbuildings with gables ranging in style from holbol to simple neo-classical. The cellar he built has been dated to 1815 and the U-shape homestead, still standing with its neo-classical main gable, to 1830. The homestead exhibits a unusually high level of sophistication for Cape Dutch architecture of the period. 

After Fick’s death in 1841, the farm was bought by Pieter Gerhardt van der Bijl, whose son inherited it in 1849. The farm remained within the family until 1886, when a J. H. Wicht purchased it.

 

In 1914, Schoongezicht was bought by Elizabeth Katherina English for 18 000 pounds. She changed the name of the farm from Schoongezicht to Lanzerac. She made extensive alterations to the outbuildings, as well as the house, which she elongated. Despite these changes, the house remains well proportioned, set in a spacious courtyard formed by the outbuildings, with the tall slave bell set well out in front of the house. The gable is a pilaster gable, with the tall outer pilasters surrounded by vases. The vases of the inner pilasters have disappeared.

 

Mrs English bottled the first Lanzerac wine from grapes grown on her land, where at one stage there were reputed to have been 21 varieties growing, all of them imported.

 

She died in 1929 and Johannes Tribblehorn, who became a member of the Cape Quality winegrowers Association and by 1936 had established what was then one of the most modern wine cellars in the Cape, bought the farm.

 

Angus Buchanan bought the farm in 1941 and bottled his first wines in 1947, earning over the next decade 20 first prizes, as well as a number of trophies at the annual Paarl Wine Exhibition. His red wines won the Champion Red Wine floating trophy for eight successive years. He sold the farm in 1958 to David and Graham Rawdon, who converted the homestead and outbuildings to a luxury hotel, furnished with English and Cape antiques. These buildings were declared national monuments.

 

Frequented by the rich and famous, one of its more illustrious guests was Senator Bobby Kennedy. It is amusing to note that in a 1967 issue of Sarie magazine, consumers were advised that they could eat a full meal at the hotel for R1.25 a head.

 

Stellenbosch Farmers Winery purchased the Lanzerac trademark in 1958, taking over the management of the vineyards the same year. The company used the grapes as well as those from other sources to make South Africa’s first commercially produced Pinotage, as well as Lanzerac Rosé, the longest-standing wine in the Lanzerac range. This wine was made by “Gravy” Rossouw, with some of the grapes supplied by Lanzerac until the late 1970’s when the farm stopped cultivating vineyards.

 

The Rawdons sold the Lanzerac to a consortium in 1988 and in 1991 Cape businessman Christo Wiese and his family acquired it. They extensively remodeled the hotel to bring it in line with international five star standards, replanted the vineyards and established a cellar.

 

In July 2012, the Lanzerac was acquired by a British Consortium and is operating under this management.

 

History of the Lanzerac Wine Range Under Stellenbosch Farmers Winery
In 1959, SFW launched the Lanzerac Rosé, the longest-standing wine in the range. Two years later, the company also launched the world’s first commercially bottled Pinotage (the indigenous varietal developed in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsaut/Hermitage) with a 1959 vintage. The range grew over the years but with the introduction of the Taskelder brand it was virtually culled in 1973, with only the Lanzerac Rosé remaining.Despite the brand’s virtual withdrawal from the market, older vintages of the Pinotage continued to excite interest at the Annual Auction of Rare Cape Wines at Nederburg, fetching high prices. 

During the mid-eighties a Lanzerac range was re-introduced and in order to raise the label to the quality standards set by Buchanan, a number of serious wines were added in the early nineties including a Chardonnay, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines won several Veritas gold medals and were widely acclaimed.

 

SFW and Christo Wiese have taken a joint decision, to once again produce wines at Lanzerac, for which its vineyards have been extensively upgraded. The Lanzerac Rosé which remains a national favourite, will continue to be made by SFW, as will the Lanzerac Pinotage, which with its distinguished heritage will create the quality benchmark for the new-generation wines. However, all other wines are being produced at Lanzerac itself by wine maker Wynand Hamman in close association with SFW, which provided expertise on blending and undertakes responsibility for the marketing of the full range in South Africa. Quantities of the wines have also been reserved for export.

 

The new wines to emerge from the Lanzerac cellars are a 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon; a 1996 wooded Chardonnay and a 1995 Merlot. These three wines will be marketed together with the 1995 Pinotage, the flagship of the range, as limited edition, premier offerings and will carry a distinctive label to set them apart from the traditional dewdrop shaped bottle of the Lanzerac Rosé.

Wynand Lategan - Lanzerac Winemaker
Born and bred in Stellenbosch, entering the wine industry seems the logical and natural life choice for anyone native to this area, but life presented Wynand Lategan, now winemaker at Lanzerac, with a few twists and turns before he discovered what should have been an obvious choice for him.Having completed his matric, Wynand set about completing what was then a compulsory two year military service before enrolling for a B.Comm degree at the University of Stellenbosch. Spurred on by his dream of becoming a professional athlete and eventually representing South Africa at the Olympic Games he extended his carefree existence as a student by enrolling in an Honours degree in Journalism which further gave him the opportunity of working as a volunteer at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. 

When the time came and Wynand had to enter the job arena he started working at Die Burger as a financial journalist – a position he would remain in for the next four years.

 

At the age of 30, weighed down by the frustration of spending each day bound to an office desk and a growing interest in wine, Wynand enrolled at Elsenburg – and so began the fulfillment of a life-long dream of farming and an opportunity to hone his passion for wine.

 

Having completed his studies in 2002 where he joined the winemaking team at the then newly completed Lourensford Cellar. An opportunity of a harvest at Château Durfort-Viviens and a second growth in Margaux paved the way to Lanzerac where Wynand took over the winemaking responsibilities in 2005, a position he still holds today.

 

Wynand’s winemaking philosophy is quite simple. When he makes a wine he is led by balance – balance in fruit, tannins, colour, alcohol, mouth-feel and in the use of wood – these are all key elements in the wine sculpting process. Wines should add joy and friendship to life, create memories of an occasion, place or the people you share it with.

 

Besides spending most of his time in the vineyards or cellar doing what he does best, Wynand is an avid outdoor enthusiast whose passions include running, surfing, mountain biking and hunting. He is married to Nelleke and is a doting dad to their two beautiful daughters, Ella and Fila-Marie, whom he believes keeps him grounded.