Meerlust Estate is a storied name in South Africa, as it has produced fine wines since the nineteenth century. The Myburgh family have further enhanced the reputation of this national treasure.
Growing fine wines on the Meerlust Estate has been part of the Myburgh family tradition since 1756. Long recognized for producing world-class wines, the Meerlust Estate is singularly rich in charm and history. When, in 1988, Hannes Myburgh succeeded his father as the custodian of Meerlust, he was the estate’s eleventh owner and represented the eighth generation of his family to preside over one of the Cape’s great estates. It has been his happy but exacting lot to lead Meerlust into a new millennium and to bring its operations in line with the demanding requirements of a new technological age. Under his guidance, further modernization of the cellar took place to ensure the meticulous handling of grapes and, in particular, the vinification of smaller parcels of grapes.
Sensitive redevelopment has enabled a functioning modern winery to exist within a historical national treasure. Both time-honoured and modern techniques are applied to achieve the potential of the vineyards and soils, ensuring that each bottle bears the hallmark of Meerlust Estate wine. The wines are all made exclusively from grapes grown on the Estate.
Hannes’ late father, Nico Myburgh, was responsible for the introduction of what is today the Estate’s flagship wine. Launched on the local wine market in 1984, the aptly named Rubicon ushered in, not only a significant, internationally recognized new style of wine in South Africa, but one that was to become a benchmark of local red wine quality. It was one of only three
Bordeaux’ style blends made in the Cape at the time. Rubicon itself was headed for iconic status, revered here and worldwide for its consistent, understated elegance and refinement. As a product of a family and farm with deep roots in the history of Cape wine, it was then, and remains today, the embodiment of the rich cultural heritage of South Africa’s 350-year-old wine industry.
As the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994 saw the country welcomed back into the international fold, connoisseurs the world over became even more familiar with Meerlust Rubicon. The farm’s 300th anniversary in 1993 was celebrated, in part, with Meerlust wines’ debut in the United States, by which time it was listed in top London establishments. Today Rubicon, together with its select classic single-varietal stable mates Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, are found in over 30 markets, from New York to Beijing.
Visitors to the Estate have for centuries anticipated seeing the cool, white façade of the Manor House as they passed through the gates and along the palm and oak tree-lined drive. Not much has changed. Today, that sense of having arrived at a most treasured home and estate is enhanced by the knowledge – on seeing the sweep of vineyards that flank the drive – that here grow the grapes of the prized Meerlust wines.