This week, we have to share our own vision of a container you find interesting. You can take the challenge as literally as you want — a box of chocolates, a broken bottle, your town’s water tank, an empty shell on the beach.
Wine barrels, especially those made of oak, have long been used as containers in which wine is aged.
Neethlingshof Wine Estate is steeped in history dating back to 1705 and continues to balance nature and wine growing in the Western Cape’s glorious Stellenbosch Winelands.
The Neethlingshof farm was initially called De Wolvendans (The Dance of Wolves) before it was acquired in 1788 by Charles Marais and his eighteen-year old wife, Maria, who immediately began extending the vineyards and building a cellar to make their own wine. When her daughter married Johannes Henoch Neethling in 1828, he became joint owner of the farm and the name was changed to Neethlingshof.
Always dressed to the nines, Johannes loved the good life and immersed himself in the community activities of Stellenbosch, earning himself the nickname, “Lord Neethling“.
It was Maria, a woman of amazing drive and vision for her time, who put the finishing touches to the decorations on the manor’s gable. The homestead where she lived is a beautifully preserved example of Cape Dutch architecture and today houses theLord Neethling restaurant. Maria also extended the vineyards to 80 000 vines and took on the wine making responsibility to become one of the first female winemakers of the young colony.
With her new found wealth she added a neighbouring 200 ha to the 197 ha she owned, running the whole farming operation with only the help of her two teenage sons and a daughter. Even after selling the property to her son and son-in-law, Johannes Henoch (“Lord”) Neethling, Maria stayed actively involved in the farming operations until her death in 1839 at the age of 68, deeply loved by her children for whom she had sacrificed everything.
Wine barrels, especially those made of oak, have long been used as containers in which wine is aged. Aging in oak typically imparts desirable vanilla, butter and spice flavors to wine. The size of the barrel plays a large role in determining the effects of oak on the wine by dictating the ratio of surface area to volume of wine with smaller containers having a larger impact.
Combining the enduring beauty of the past with a modern and highly functional lay-out, the Neethlingshof Wine Estate is a space in which to relax and allow yourself the time to savour some of their wines.