Established in 1714 by two Frenchmen from the city Montpellier (“Spyseniersberg” or “Chef’s mountain”) in France, this historic Cape Dutch Wine Estate recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. Steeped in a rich history of wine making, Montpellier is renowned for producing wine with integrity and character representative of the Tulbagh Valley…
Montpellier Wine Estate is embraced by three imposing mountains of the Tulbagh Valley and they create a unique micro-climate ideal for viticulture. Unlike most regions in the Western Cape, the summer nights at Montpellier are cool and fresh due to these massive surrounding mountains. The climatic influences and geography creates a distinctive terroir which defines Montpellier and enables us to produce a diverse range of top quality wines.
In September 1969 a devastating earthquake struck the Tulbagh Valley, leveling the original Cape Dutch homestead. De Wet Theron (former KWV president) restored his ancestral home to preserve the architectural heritage of Montpellier.
In the years that followed Montpellier suffered neglect and fell into disrepair. In 2001 Lucas van Tonder spotted its intrinsic beauty and potential. Lucas bought the farm and commenced a massive restoration, staying true to the original Cape Dutch design and craftsmanship. He subsequently also acquired the neighbouring farm Constantia.
Montpellier’s spacious homestead is now a National Monument and stands as an outstanding example of Cape Dutch architecture. There are three casement windows on either side of the front door and above it is a handsome ‘holbol’ gable decorated with a charming variety of motifs. The house if furnished with beautiful antique Cape Dutch furniture and the guest rooms are fitted with more modern amenities combined with old world charm.
On 2 December 1967 a 1000 bottles of Riesling were hand bottled, corked and left to mature for four years as an experiment to establish the aging potential. The 1971 Riesling, matured for 18 months, was sold and became the first wine to receive a Gold Superior classification. Later, De Wet Theron added another three cultivars: a Gewürztraminer (bottled in 1971, it also received a gold superior classification), Rhine Riesling and Chenin Blanc. A handful of those vintages are still alive and healthy and they have since turned into a honey coloured liquid gold.
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