Background


The new political dispensation heralded a boom in the South African wine industry particularly in overseas markets with new wine labels appearing almost every month. 1996 was a watershed year the de Villiers family, John Villiers de Villiers and his sons Henri and Villiers with the launch of four wines under the De Villiers label; a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot.

The wines are made from grapes grown on the farms Nantes and Estherdal in Northern Paarl. The two farms, located in a picturesque valley, comprise 280 hectares producing approximately 1600 tones of grapes. Conditions are ideal for the production of fine wines. The winters are cold with snow on the surrounding mountain peaks providing the vines with a dormant period in which to build up reserve energy to develop good bud break and growth in spring. Summer days are warm ensuring the grapes with adequate sugar levels. A fresh south easterly wind blows most afternoons and cools the vineyards from the heat of the day safeguarding the vines from disease. By late summer when the harvest takes place the nights cool to 12ºC. The dramatic difference between day and night temperatures is ideal for the production of fine wines.

The de Villiers family have farmed in the Paarl region for over three centuries. The Here XVII - the governing body of the Dutch east India Company - specifically invited the three de Villiers brothers to come to the Cape on the grounds of their viticultural and winemaking expertise. They were the only French Huguenots to arrive with letters of recommendation to the then Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel.

The de Villiers family flourished living up to the family motto, “La Maine a l’oeuvre”, meaning, “hard work overcomes all”. Soon, they became on of the most prominent South African families. A substantial proportion of estates - particularly in the Franschoek and Paarl areas were founded, built and owned at some stage by the de Villiers family. To name but a few : La Motte, La Cotte, La Bri, Champagne, Boschendal, L’Ormarins, Plaisir de Merle, Landskroon, Nederburg and many more. In fact, the land upon which KWV is built belonged to the de Villiers family less than 100 years ago.

The present owners of De Villiers wine are the thirteenth generation of viticulturists and wine makers in South Africa. In addition, the de Villiers farms produce export quality table grapes, pears and plums and eggs.

De Villiers Wines
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