The tranquil Vrede en Lust estate is one of South Africa’s most well known and loved estates. Settled on the R45 that takes you to Franschhoek, the farm has majestic views of the towering Simonsberg mountain facing it. The estate starts at the Bergriver valley floor and runs up the eastern foothills of the Simonsberg Mountain. The estate has a long and interesting history going back into the 1700’s. It has since seen numerous owners, been divided up into different farms and then reassembled to what it is now.
The history of the estate reached back to 1688 when Flemish merchant Jacques de Savoye arrived at the Cape with the French Huguenots. De Savoye went to work on the 55Ha of land and started preparing it for planting. M
ore than 10 000 vines were planted by 1691, which grew to 80 000 by 1780. De Savoye named the estate, which translated means Peace and Delight.
The farm has had 16 prior owners, before the Buys family eventually purchased the land. In October 1996, the farm was bought over by them, whose vision for the farm would be to restore it to its former glory days. As laws on the wine industry started changing, Dana Buys saw a fantastic opportunity in the estate. He bought Vrede en Lust, the two properties attached to it and eventually the former Wolve Kloof, a neighbouring farm which had come onto the market. With all the parts of the puzzle together, Buys went on with his plan for the farm. For the first time, the estate looked like it did in the 1700’s. The family’s vision for the estate included ensuring that they get the most out of the farm and ensure that the full potential of the farm is met. The two Buys brothers, Dana and Etienne partnered together to make the farm a success and Etienne came on board to manage the farm and oversee the viticultural improvements.
The farm has a strong commitment to renewable energy. The introduction of the estates 220KVA solar power generating system meant that the farm had a solid drive toward sustainability. It is the farms main source of energy and is one of the biggest in South Africa. It allows the estate to operate totally independently of the national grid during the day.
2006 saw a new chapter for the estate. A 90 hectare farm was bought in Elgin. This portion of land, named Casey’s allows for Vrede en Lust to produce varietals that don’t necessarily grow well in the warmer climate of Franschhoek. Being 14kms from Walker Bay and 12kms from False Bay, this farm allows them to produce a whole unique batch of wines. This farm experiences temperatures that are around 6-8 degrees below the original estate and they have gone to extreme measures to fully understand the land. 11 temperature probes were inserted onto various parts of the slope to learn more about the new land.
One of the wines featured this week is the The Vrede En Lust Estate Lady J Syrah, which is a perfect blend of grapes coming from both farms. The Syrah berries from Simonsberg-Paarl lend violet and plum characters to this wine. The Elgin portion introduces darker features with black pepper and other spicy notes. With smooth, juicy tannins, you can either enjoy it now or within 4 to 5 years from vintage.