Slangrivier, a brief history
During the year 1699, the then Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, granted the farm De Slangerivier (Snake River) to French Huguenot Louis Fourie (spelled Fleurij on the deed). It was he who planted the first vineyards and created the first wine. The original Deed of Grant, which is dated 28 February 1699, still hangs in the homestead today. Slangrivier takes it name from the winding stream which flows from the Groenberg Mountain on which slopes the farm is situated.
The restoration of Slangrivier
The present homestead dates from 1809 and is a classic single story Cape Dutch building. In 1995, plans were drawn up for the complete restoration of the Homestead.
As the building restoration neared completion, a search was made for the appropriate Cape Dutch furniture with which to furnish the house. Finally, after exploring many avenues, a property was found in Graaff Reinet crammed with Voortrekker furniture, all of which probably originated in and around CapeTown at the time the homestead was built.
This magnificent property is situated on the slopes of the Groenberg Mountain and enjoys a distinctly different climate to the surrounding region, resulting in a unique terroir. Groenberg is so named because its unique location stands in lush contrast to the area. Vineyards are planted on the slopes of Groenberg which lends diversity to the different varietals. With the higher rainfall, rich soils and moderate summer temperatures, a special micro-climate is created in which we grow our grapes. The vines are planted in a variety of Oakleaf soils which, together with the cool elevated peaks, enable us to select the most suitable terroir for each varietal.
The farm covers 294 hectares of which 100 hectares are planetd with noble varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are situated on the slopes of Groenberg, over 500m high, where temperatures are very much cooler. The vineyards are in the capable hands of experienced farm manager Rudolf Jansen van Vuuren.
When the new owners took occupation, the existing cellar was completely overhauled, parts being rebuilt, others simply restored. With new state-of-the-art equipment, a perfect synergy was created between wine making tradition and modern technology. The winemaking team consists of Cellarmaster Hennie Huskisson, winemaker with International (Chateau Margaux) and local experience (Fairview, Nederburg) and switched-on winemaker JG Auret, previously from Boland Cellar.