Owner and brilliant storyteller, Dr Rijk Melck, hosts us at his family home and farm, Muratie Wine Estate.
Our visit starts with Rijk’s welcome and brief talk about the history of this farm, stretching over centuries (see below). We then have a tour of the main buildings, including the small, humble dwelling of the first farmer here who married a freed slave.
Hopefully, like the previous three Culture Connects here, Rijk will also show us the old Cape Dutch farmhouse where his mother lives. It is packed with antiques and art.
Our two course lunch, is a mix of traditional, local with contemporary is curated by his wife, Kim Melck. Wine tasting is combined with stories about personalities involved with the farm from its humble beginnings to now (each wine is named after a person with a close association with Muratie).
10h30 to 16h00
Cost tbc but last time: R950 per person, R750 paying well in advance (for non drinkers, like me, deduct R200)
Two course lunch and four wines for tasting, including their delicious sparkling wine.
Muratie Wine Estate
Knorhoek Rd (R44)
“One of the most characterful visitor venues in the winelands”, to quote the South African wine guide, Platters.
Muratie is very much a working farm, known for its authenticity (and cobwebs).
It is full of history. The area was one of the first developed for agriculture in Southern Africa. Simon van der Stel wanted the land to be used to grow grain, interestingly not grapes.
The first ‘owner’ was German soldier and Dutch East India Company employee, Laurens Campher. He bought the land in 1685. He married Ansela van de Caab, as soon as she was emancipated from being a slave. We’ll see where they lived – it looks more like a stable than a house. There are Muratie wines named Laurens and Ansela, like many other people who have lived and worked here. This is where the wine tasting comes in – over lunch we’ll get to taste a range and hear more stories about the farm’s characters.
Pinot Noir was first planted in South Africa here, thanks to the owner at the time, George Paul Canitz, and his mate, chemist and viticulturist, Dr Abraham Izak Perold, best known for developing the Pinotage grape variety in 1925. (Canitz was a figurative artist of local landscapes, considered bohemian at the time; his daughter inherited the farm).
Some of us are familiar with the Melck name because of Martin Melck House, 96 Strand Street, Cape Town. It is next to one of the most striking old churches in Cape Town’s centre, the Lutheran Church (see image). It is the oldest church building in South Africa, dating back to 1792. Martin Melck, a successful businessman, funded this. He lived on this farm 1763 – 1781, followed by his daughter (Anna Catherina) and her family.
The farm belonged to many owners before Rijk‘s father bought it back in 1987. At the time Rijk was a GP in Stellenbosch but in time he gave this up to run the farm with his wife Kim.
An hour from central Cape Town; let me know if you would like to lift share (previously Culture Connectors have taken an Uber)
You could arrange to stay the night in their cottage – it is exceptionally nicely and comfortably furnished – with antiques and Wifi.
Mountain biker and runners – there’s the Simonsberg Trail.