Glenelly was a well-known plum farm in the second half of the 2oth Century. Situated perfectly at the base of the iconic Simonsberg bang in the middle of the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation, it took a great lady of Bordeaux ‘royalty’ Mme May Eliane de Lencquesaing who bought the farm in 2003, at the age of 78, to bring it to life. At the time Mme de Lencquesaing was the owner of the famous Bordeaux Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. With the help of Heinrich Louw Viticulturist and Estate Manager, she once told me, “when I bought Glenelly, I got Heinrich too!”, the grubbed out the plum trees and proceeded to plant noble varieties of grapes. Using modern technology, they planted grapes best suited to the soils and microclimate of the Estate.
At the same time, the farm community was supported. Under the guidance of a caretaker and full time social worker, the farm workers’ children receive a balanced meal after school and they can use the small library, laptop and internet access for homework. The Centre also focusses on the Social Development and Personal Upliftment of the farm workers. Improving their reading and writing skills, computer knowledge and recreation development enhances their day-to-day standard of living.
A visit to the Estate is something that should be brought closer to the top of your bucket list if you live in the Cape, and certainly to top position if you are in the Cape on a visit. The Estate’s award winning wines are made by Luke O’Cuinnegain in the Estate’s winery. In my opinion, the wines are superb, each and every one of them, and are very even-handedly prices for the return of quality and pleasure you receive. I particularly enjoy The Glass Collection range for everyday drinking. In the tasting Room on the Estate, wines are available for tasting and sale. Do look at their website below to check on opening times.
There are a couple of ‘must dos’ on the Estate, so allow yourself time when you are there. The Glenelly Glass Collection, collected by Mme de Lencquesaing is one of the finest private collections in the world. From ancient Roman glass, to Salvador Dali and a variety of contemporary French glassmakers, this collection is spellbinding and so well worth a gentle stroll through.
The other ‘must do’ is a meal in The Vine Bistro, where one of the Cape’s finest chefs, Christophe Dehosse presents food in the French Style using the finest of local ethically produced produce. This man is a master of his craft, yet operates beneath the radar. He should be more recognised for the superb quality of his food.
Glenelly is ‘well worth the drive’ in Michelin terms. The beauty of the vineyards, which Heinrich keeps in impeccable condition, the benign Simonsberg overlooking the Estate, the sensational wines and excellent food, could make for a very happy day for you.
Read more about Glenelly Estate – CLICK HERE