Stonehill – the home of Bristle wine

Bristle is a mutt: a scruffy, pint-sized, wire-haired terrier-type dog – and is also Lorna Hughes’ most devoted companion. Probably because Lorna rescued the flea-ridden pup from a rubbish bin when only a few weeks old and nurtured her back to health.
“Attitude on four legs” is often how this feisty canine is described by Dave Hughes, Lorna’s husband and world-renowned wine judge and writer. Bristle also provided the inspiration for the launch of Lorna Hughes’ own wine brand Stonehill wines.

Stonehill takes its name from the two hectare Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard situated at the head of Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley. It boasts commanding views of the valley, taking in stunning vistas of the Simonsberg, Stellenbosch mountain and Helderberg – all the way to False Bay in the south.

It’s also the site of Devon Valley’s original winery, built circa 1926. This old building became the hub of Lorna’s viticultural consultancy, Devinco. Instead of being used for the vinification of grapes, the old concrete tanks (kuipe) have now been converted into storage for Stonehill bottled wines.

Lorna admits that she “loves growing things” which is why tending vineyards and farming really appeal to her. She’s a familiar figure in the Devon Valley, driving around in her truck or striding the vineyards with Bristle trotting at her heels, usually dragging a vine cutting along!

Stonehill came about after Lorna, who took over guardianship of the property in 1996 having originally planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon grapes there in 1992, decided to complete the circle by vinifying her own grapes.

In 2003 her neighbours offered Lorna a parcel of Shiraz grapes from gnarled 30-year-old vines and, in co-operation with winemaking consultant Mark Carmichael-Green, the first red wine – called Bristle – was made.

The wine, initially intended for home consumption, was full-fruited and eminently drinkable. Friends who tasted it around the dinner table demanded their own supply and Lorna was forced to part with a few bottles. That first wine also won recognition from the Platter Guide tasters who singled it out for attention as one of only 10 wines accorded “SuperQuaffer” status in the 2006 edition.

The 2006 vintage saw Lorna and Mark vinify her own Cabernet Sauvignon, which had for so long been supplied to other award-winning wineries in Stellenbosch, in two styles – one a red and the other a dry rosé.

But there was also a need for a home for Stonehill wines, and Lorna built on an addition to the old winery to serve as sales and tasting facility. This is now open for business. Taking pride of place – in etched form – on the sandblasted French doors is Bristle, complete with ever-present vine cutting in mouth!

This image is mirrored on Stonehill wines’ label, all of which are available from the tasting room.

Also available at the tasting room will be a few of Lorna’s neighbours’ wines – Môrewag (a Pinotage Top 10 winner in 2006), Seaton and Usana.

Our wines are available in Durban at:
* The wine Cellar, Natal Midlands
* Hillcrest Liquors (031) 765-1830
* Liberty Liquors (031) 303-9857
* La Cave, Umhlanga (031) 572-6073
* Marriott Gardens, Berea (031) 309-2079

Our wines are available in Cape Town at:
* Carolines Strand St and V & A Waterfront
* Morgans, Tygervalley Centre, Bellville
* Die Boord Spar, Stellenbosch
* Kwikspar, opposite Paul Roos, Stellenbosch
* Vineyard Connection, Delvera, Stellenbosch
* Spar, Lion Square, Somerset West

For further enquiries contact Lorna Hughes
Tel: (021) 865 2686
Mobile: 073 420 3300
email: llhughes

Stonehill Wines
P.O. Box 612