With a history which dates back centuries involving mercenaries, corruption, horse-racing and flowers, you could never say that things are dull at Welmoed! Situated on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, this historic farm is now part of ‘the company of wine people’ a co-operative of more than 200 growers whose other brands include Kumkani, Arniston Bay and the hugely popular Versus.
Welmoed is traditionally known for the outstanding quality and value of their wines – virtually every wine has the ‘smiley face’ of good value symbol alongside it in the current Platter Wine Guide - but the farm has a long and proud winemaking history and it is this which has given rise to two exciting new wines which celebrate 350 years of wine production in South Africa.
The story goes that during the early eighteenth century, incensed at what they perceived as corruption in the governor, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, a group of sixty or so farmers (Vryburghers) petitioned the Dutch East India Company for his removal. When this was rejected, van der Stel had the ringleaders arrested and threatened to hang them all unless they retracted their defamatory petition. All the leaders backed down, except one - Jacobus van der Heyden who said ‘Hang and be damned. I’ll not change anything I wrote about you!’
Van der Heyden was sent to the Castle dungeons for his defiance and was only released many years later due to failing health. When he returned to his farm, his bravery was saluted by all ‘Deze vent heft wel moed’ – ‘this man certainly has courage’ and his farm was known as Welmoed from that day.
In honour of Jacobus van der Heyden, Welmoed created their new reserve range – Heyden’s Courage. These are the first blends under the Welmoed label and offer exciting additions to the range – the red is a fourway Bordeaux blend aged in oak for 20 months, and the white is an eclectic mix of six aromatic grape varieties – a uniquely South African combination.
Check out the link here to see which of Welmoed’s wines we’ve chosen for this month’s Vin-atics club and find out which mouthwatering dishes we’ve paired with them. We’re going to be tasting the wines with the food on Thursday 3rd February so if you want to see how we’re getting on, then make sure you’re following us on Twitter - @vinatics or @welmoedwines.
Why not hold your own food and wine-matching at home? We would love to hear about it and we’ve got a case of delicious Welmoed wines to give away to the most entertaining food and wine pairing suggestions, the best pics, the funniest stories. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also post your pictures on our blog as well.