The Heritage of Knorhoek Wine Estate Stellenbosch
As early as 1694 farmers recognised the potential of the fertile foothills of the Simonsberg mountain. By 1793 the legendary Martin Melck had acquired most of this land and it was probably he who changed the name from the original Kleygat (Clay-hole) to Knorhoek, called in a contemporary document 'de plaats waar de leeuwen knorren' - the place where lions growl.
This gives one an indication of how wild the environment was at that time. Feline predators scaled the high kraal walls at night and preyed on domestic livestock.
The Cape Mountain lion became extinct by the late 1700's, caracal are occasionally seen on the farm and leopard sightings still occur in the higher reaches of the surrounding mountains - hence the use of the leopard on the Knorhoek Estate wine labels.
Melck's daughter inherited Knorhoek and her son, Jan Andries Beyers was the first of many generations to farm here. A devastating phylloxera plague forced most farmers in the area to sell, but by an interesting quirk of fate, Knorhoek went back into the family.
In 1887 JGB van Niekerk bought a neighbouring farm and chanced to marry the great-granddaughter of Beyers, the original Knorhoek patriarch. She convinced him to buy back Knorhoek, and now four generations later, the Van Niekerks have created a fine balance between producing excellent wines and conserving a little of the wild spirit of the past. A visit to the family cemetery behind the guesthouse makes for interesting reflection on a colourful past.
Today the Van Niekerk brothers are the 5th generation to own and work this beautiful farm. Following in the footsteps of their father, Hannes, who was awarded the prestigious Smuts Trophy for his wines, they continue the long and honourable family tradition of winemaking.
James, in charge of the vineyards, and Hansie, responsible for winemaking and marketing, together with their wives Carol and Ingrid, form a vibrant young team, passionate about wines and delighted to share their heritage with visitors and guests.
Situated in peaceful gardens, with a tempting rock pool and rustic outdoor lapa, the 3-star guesthouse spoils guests with traditional Cape hospitality and fine food. Knorhoek is a popular venue for weddings, conferences and other functions.
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Wednesday - Sunday 12:00 to 14:30
Wedding co-ordinator is available Tuesday to Saturday by appointment only.