Muratie is one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa and is also a listed gem.
Muratie Winery - great wine culture and tradition
At this historic site, art treasures abound within architecture dating back to this country's founding era. This very special winery is situated on the foothills of the impressive Simonsberg and the vineyards around the old farmhouse are probably the best for red wines in the country.
Melck and Muratie - a South African success story
The Melck family has been associated with the Muratie estate since the 18th century. Today, Dr. Rijk Melk, a medical doctor, runs the estate as the successor of Ronnie Melk, who made great contributions to South African viticulture. Even today, tradition is of utmost importance. For the direct descendants of the legendary first owner Martin Melck, who emigrated from East Prussia to South Africa in the 18th century and was the founder of the Lutheran Church in Cape Town, quality and sustainability are in the foreground.
About 45 hectares of vineyards belong to the Muratie Estate in the Knorhoek Valley in Stellenbosch. In addition to the first Pinot Noir vines in South Africa, the vineyards also played a major role in the Pinotage grape variety - as the Pinot Noir grapes used for crossing with Cinsault originated here. Furthermore, the grape varieties Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tinta Roriz and Cabernet Franc are cultivated, among others.
On the winery everything is relaxed, so the vines grow and thrive in peace to the perfect maturity. The soils are natural, geese and ducks wander through the vineyards for pest control. The grapes are harvested exclusively by hand. A second selection of the grapes guarantees that only the best material reaches the cellar. Consequently, the grapes are gently pressed in an air cushion press and then fermented in a controlled manner, either open or in stainless steel tanks. After a few months in French oak barrels, the wines find their perfection - strong in character, high in quality and full of the personality of the Muratie estates.
The wines and their namesakes
The Muratie estate has been in existence since the 17th century and has hosted a host of illustrious characters in its history, whose names grace the wines of Muratie
Laurens Campher: as the first owner of the Muratie Estate, it is of course natural to dedicate a bottle of wine to the German soldier. However, it was not his farming skills alone that earned the young lad a place in the annals of the estate, but his love for a slave girl in Cape Town. He often took the arduous and mile-long journey to meet her. Finally, in 1699, Campher took over the estate completely and was able to offer his lover a place to live.
Ansela van de Caab: Ansela was born directly into slavery and worked in the gardens of the Dutch East India Company. Together with the German soldier Laurens Campher, she cherished the hope of a life of freedom. They fathered three children together. Their release in 1695 was no less precious a gift. Their patience paid off - Campher took them to live with him on the Muratie estate, where they both lived carefree lives with their children.
Alberta Annemarie: When Alberta Annemarie together with her father George Paul Canitz, an owner of the Muratie Estate, first discovered the estate by chance during a ride, she immediately fell in love with the beautiful spot. Canitz bought the estate and planted Pinot Noir vines - the first in South Africa. After his death, Alberta took over the wine estate and from then on, she was considered to be the first female vintner in the country. Alberta did not change anything at the charming Muratie Estate and rode her horse until old age. At least until she said of herself that the horse would be too old.
Amber: Besides wine, the Amber sweet wine can also be found in the portfolio of the winery. Allegedly, George Paul Canitz named the dessert wine from Muratie Estate after the fictional character Amber St. Clare from the novel Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. Another thesis says that the amateur artist had found his muse in a beautiful woman and dedicated this wine to her.
Martin Melck: The Prussian mercenary was the first Melck on the Muratie vineyard in 1763, which he bought for his daughter Anna Chaterina. Martin Melck was a Lutheran, but was angered by the prohibition to live out his faith freely with other followers. So he secretly built a schuilkerk, a hidden church for himself and other Lutherans in Cape Town.
Ronnie Melck: After the estate had passed back and forth in the hands of numerous personalities over decades and centuries, it came back to the Melck family in 1987. Ronnie Melck, a direct descendant of Martin Melck, fulfilled his dream and led the Muratie estate into the present. Today he still watches over the proceedings, under the trees in the highest spot on the farm.
Ben Prins: Winemaker Ben Prins was a stubborn man who didn't tolerate mischief - certainly not when it came to making wine. Perfectionist and traditionalist Ben Prins knew the craft like no other and is still remembered at Canvas Muratie today. So in his mind he still wanders barefoot through the cellar and shows himself as port in the glass.
Isabella: The current owners of Muratie Estate Rijk and Kim Melck run the winery with untamed passion and a constant awareness of the farm's storied past. Nevertheless, the path of the winery points to a golden future, which can be tasted in the Chardonnay wine thanks to the care and dedication. Of course, the daughter Isabella's name is therefore representative for easy-going joie de vivre.
And these are the grape varieties grown at Muratie Estate:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Tinta Barocca
- Tinta Francisca
- Sauvignon Blanc