The mill to which Windmeul owes its name must have been the centre of economic activity in the area. This Windmeul was probably the finest in the country.

The mill to which Windmeul owes its name must have been the centre of economic activity in the area. This Windmeul was probably the finest in the country. Not only did it have a fantail to turn the cap, but it also had shuttered sails, like Venetian blinds which automatically opened or closed according to the strength of the wind.

Research so far has revealed that the windmill, built by Mr Blake, a Paarl miller, was probably erected some time between 1884 and 1890. In this year the post office agency called Windmill was established in Agter-Paarl alongside the mill.

There were twenty-seven mills in Paarl area but the one at Agter-Paarl was the only windmill.

Mr Johnnie de Villiers of Windmeul, whose father was the one-time owner of the mill, recalls that a severe storm damaged one of the sails, so that it could no longer be effectively wind driven and that his father bought a paraffin motor in Cape Town to drive it. He also says that there was an economic recession after the Boer War, and the mill being no longer viable, ceased production. According to Mr De Villiers, the owner (JP van Rensburg, died 5th May 1927) of the farm Waterpoel, as Roelanda was then known, had the tower of the mill demolished a few months before his death, leaving the three-meter base which still exists, for use as a store room.

All that is left is one of the millstones housed on the grounds of a local school. Although the undertaking has passed into oblivion, the name Windmeul has remained, and was the one adopted when a co-operative wine cellar was established in the area in 1944.

Originally a group of export grape farmers thought of forming a co-operative cellar to vinify the portion of the crop that was not suitable for table use. Since these farmers were not in position to deliver the minimum of 1500 tons required to set up a co-operative, several wine farmers were invited to join them.

The Windmeul Co-Operative Wine cellars was registered on September 4th 1944 with the twenty-three founder members undertaking to deliver a combined total of 1700 tons of grapes. The following year a tender for building a cellar was accepted at R15 700 and the 1946 crop was the first to be pressed at Windmeul.

Initially only distilling wine and rebate wine for brandy was produced. In 1963 though, Mr CP le Roux was appointed as winemaker, the co-operative began to make good wine. Prior to 1964 the co-operative was controlled by the export grape farmers. At the Annual General Meeting in 1964 a new directorate was elected under the chairmanship of founder member BJ Lambrechts. In August the same year Bernhard Luttich, formerly manager of Jonkheer Farmer's Winery at Bonnievale, was appointed as manager/winemaker at Windmeul. From then on a gradual process of modernization was followed.

The Windmeul cellar centre is situated on the northern slopes of the Paarl mountain in the heart of the Paarl winelands. Just 10 minutes from Paarl and Wellington and a 45 minute freeway drive from Cape Town. Windmeul offers excellent wine tasting, function and special event facilities, with traditional country warmth and hospitality.

Now Windmeul is run by an elite team consisting of an 7 member board with Wilhelm Dreyer as Chairman and Albert Kotzé as vice-chairman. With Danie Marais (Cellar Master), Abraham van Heerden (Winemaker) and Andri le Roux (Assistant Winemaker), Windmeul produces a wide variety of affordable and award winning wines. The cellar has the capacity to process 14 500 tonnes of grapes, coming from 1 700 hectares of vineyards from their various producing members.

Windmeul Cellar