Glenelly Wine Estate was bought by Madame May Eliane de Lencquesaing in 2003. Before this it was a well-known plum farm. This pioneering and hugely successful lady had owned the Chateau Pichon Lalande which she turned into a Bordeaux legend. At the age of 78, she was ready to start again.
Located at the foothills of the Simonsberg, at the very heart of the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation, she and her team proceeded to turn it onto a model estate which looks as though it is manicured each day with a tiniest pair of scissors. The soils are ancient, the climate perfect and the legend and experiences of Bordeaux wine farming have been put to good use.
If you live in the Cape and have not visited, put it on your bucket list and nudge it up near the top. If you are a visitor to the Cape, a visit is a must.
The Estate is 123 hectares in size and 65 hectares are planted to vines while the remainder is an Olive Orchard, fynbos and a range of flora indigenous to the Cape. You can imagine the local fauna which live amongst these unfarmed areas.
Winemaking is the specialist area of Luke O’Cuinneagain, General Manager and Winemaker who uses natural vineyard yeasts for his fermentations and the wines go into French oak after fermentation. The winery operates by gravity flow, as much energy is generated by solar panels, recycled water is used and the estate’s committed aim is to recycle all waste.
The Tasting Room has the most spectacular views of the vineyards, a constant reminder of the agricultural side of winemaking. Competent staff take you through the tasting experience.
A real gastronomic experience awaits you at The Vine Bistro. French inspired cooking by Frenchman Christophe Dehosse is exactly what you need to partner your Glenelly wines – some back vintages too. I think he is one of the unsung culinary heroes of the Cape winelands kitchens. Seasonal fresh, organic and local is his mantra.
Madame May Eliane de Lencquesaing has had a lifelong interest in glass. She once told me that both glass and the vine come from the sand. Glenelly has one of the largest collections of glass in the world, this alone is worth a visit so do leave some time to stay and enjoy this exhibition.
Don’t delay, get thee hence and have a brilliant wine experience, unique in the Cape.
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