Thr French Huguenots landed in the Cape in 1688 at the invitation of the Dutch East India Company. However, the remote valley which they had been allocated for their crop-growing required a perilous mountain crossing over the Heshoogte Pass.
Delaire Graff Estate is situated on the crest of this pass, on the slopes of a crucial peak named Botmaskop. The name refers to the historic use of the peak as a lookout point for ships entering Table Bay harbor. When the sentry would give his signal, the Franschhoek farmers would know to begin carting their produce to the harbor.
Besides their crop-growing skills, these French Settlers also brought with them a sound knowledge of viticulture, the art of wine making - fostering a tradition that has grown from strength to strength through the centuries.
In 1982 John Platter, well known wine writer and maker, bought the farm, then known as Avontuur. Looking at the magnificent view, he decided to rename the farm Delaire Estate, meaning “From the Sky".
In November 2003, Sir Laurence Graff acquired the Estate, immediately putting it into a six-year redevelopment programme of being transformed into a leading world-class winery, restaurants, wine lounge, hotel and spa. The property was re-opened in June 2009.
Sir Laurence Graff is the founder and Chairman of Graff Diamonds International Limited, a company he started in 1960 and which is one of the leading diamond jewellery companies in the world. There are 38 Graff stores including stores in London, United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, South Africa, China, Japan and corporate offices worldwide.
The Estate installed a spectacular cellar, one of the most advanced in the southern hemisphere with every possible aid and resource that a wine maker could possibly need for extracting the ultimate potential from every vintage, and ensuring consistent world-class standards. But clearly the road to vinous perfection has to start with the optimal fruit. And to this end, the Estate's vineyards have undergone an extensive replanting programme over the years.
As Morne Vrey, Delaire Graff Estate's wine maker explains, "Capital investment alone cannot guarantee superlative wines. But when you start off with the finest clones of the most suitable cultivars, plant them on the optimum soils and slopes, and manage your vineyards vigilantly...then, you've created the best possible platform for the art and science of winemaking to unite in a display of celestial magic."
For more information about the Estate, please click here.