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Rustenberg

RustenbergWatch a video about Rustenberg

Rustenberg lies nestled in the Simonsberg Mountain valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands and premier wine growing region of Stellenbosch.

It has a rich history dating back to 1682 when Roelof Pasman from Meurs (near the Rhine) first spotted the immense wine-growing potential of this region. By 1781, the farm was already producing around 3000 cases of wine. By the end of the century, production had doubled, and a new cellar was constructed. Rustenberg’s wine cellar has been bottling wines for an uninterrupted period since 1892.

Rustenberg was divided into two farms in the early 1800s by then owner Jacob Eksteen. He decided to give the one-half to his son-in-law, who named it Schoongezicht, and later sold it. The two farms reached their peak around 1812, with flourishing vineyards and picturesque homesteads. But the mid-century brought with it recession and disease in the vines which meant dispossession and bankruptcy. In 1892, John X Merriman (who later became the Cape’s Prime Minister) rescued Schoongezicht and his brother-in-law Sir Jacob Barry, Rustenberg, and together they began the arduous task of restoring both farms.

Peter and Pamela Barlow purchased Rustenberg in 1941, later adding Schoongezicht and finally reuniting the two properties again. Peter began restoring the old buildings on the estate and developed the farming capacity further by renovating the winery and building dams.

In 1987 their son Simon took over the reins of running the farm. He cut his teeth by running Nooitgedacht, an estate perched on the Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch, for a few years. Simon managed to revitalize Rustenberg just as South Africa was emerging from its post-Apartheid isolation. He replanted the estate’s vineyards by importing grape varieties and modern virus-free clones, as well as building a new winery.

Simon together with his wife Rozanne (who takes responsibility for the grounds and gardens) still runs this family-owned estate. Their son Murray now farms full-time with his parents, having completed his Masters in Oenology in Australia at The University of Adelaide. He primarily looks after Rustenberg’s marketing and winemaking.

The property offers a range of slopes that enable site-specific plantings that boost varietal characteristics. The vineyards have also been upgraded by planting virus-free vines that have been imported from France. If needed, controlled irrigation is deployed to help stressed vines and to ensure top quality grapes. All vineyard blocks are vinified separately and then blended to add complexity to the wines. The grapes at Rustenberg are hand-picked over a period of two weeks to optimize their quality and ripeness.

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