HONOURING THE EXTRAORDINARY ‘WOMEN OF MURATIE’
On Women’s Day on 9th August and during the month of August known as Women’s Month, Muratie, the historic estate established in 1685, honours the extraordinary women who helped mould Muratie as we know it today.
Muratie is one of the oldest farms in South Africa, and with this age comes a memorable legacy passed on by the many remarkable characters from the farm’s colourful past, including a line-up of extraordinary women. Thanks to the Melck family’s passionate guardianship, Muratie’s rich, centuries-old heritage lives on at the estate, where all the wines are named after these legendary personalities.
ANSELA VAN DE CAAB
Muratie’s flagship Bordeaux-style red blend pays tribute to Ansela van de Caab whose impressive story is written into South African folklore as an icon of the struggle against the horrors of slavery at the Cape in the late 17th century.
Born and raised in the slave quarters at the Castle, Ansela fell in love with Laurens Campher, a dashing German soldier in the service of the Dutch East Indian Company, who became the first owner of Muratie (then called De Driesprong). During their 14-year courtship, Laurens frequently walked the 64 kilometres to Cape Town and back, a three-day trip, to see his beloved Ansela. In 1699 Ansela, being literate in Dutch and baptised, was finally emancipated. Laurens came to fetch her and take her home, as his wife, to Muratie, together with their three children. Ansela played a major role in building-up the farm into a successful enterprise. They planted the first vineyards at Muratie and an oak tree, to bless their marriage, which still stands on Muratie, as does a small white house, their first home, which today houses the MOK Gallery. When Laurens died, Ansela inherited the farm, becoming one of the first woman descended from a slave to own her own farm.
LADY ALICE SARAH STANFORD
Muratie’s Lady Alice Méthode Cap Classique bubbly made from 100% Pinot Noir is a toast to a ‘lady’ for whom every day was a celebration, who was always the life and soul of the party, who infused the Muratie Manor House with merriment and joy.
As the wife of a senator, who bought Muratie in 1909, Lady Alice was a high society hostess of note adept at turning every event into a dance party with jazzy tunes in the background and the notes of fine wine on the nose. Life at Muratie was filled with endless festivities: luncheons, cocktails, soirées, banquets, balls and fancy-dress parties as well as shooting, hunting and tennis gatherings.
ALBERTA ANNEMARIE CANITZ
Muratie honoured Alberta Annemarie Canitz, the feisty pioneer who became one of the first female wine farm owners in the country, by naming their Merlot after her.
It all began in1926 when she and her father, famous German artist and bon vivant George Paul Canitz, were out horseback riding and quite by chance discovered Muratie. They both fell instantly in love with the charm of the place and bought it, making it their mission to renovate and replant the old farm and restore it to its former grandeur. After her father died in 1958, she inherited the farm which she ran on her own for almost 30 years. Fiercely protective of Muratie’s legacy, she kept everything exactly the way it was in her father’s time. She continued to make wine and ride her horse well into her 80s, eventually only stopping, she insisted, ‘because the horse is too old.’ At the advanced age of 87 and having no descendants, she was looking for suitable successor, and no one was more perfect than Ronnie Melck. A direct descendant of the legendary Martin Melck (who together with his descendants, owned Muratie for 134 years), Ronnie had nurtured a 30-year-long dream of returning Muratie to the Melck fold. The sale was sealed with a promise that Ronnie would keep Muratie exactly as it was at the time.
A VISIT TO MURATIE
Guarded over by ancient oak trees, a visit to Muratie today reveals a piece of history where time has largely stood still: a unique and magical environment where visitors can enjoy Muratie’s legendary wines, honest farm food and warm hospitality.
SIP ON MURATIE WINES AND TASTE HISTORY FOR YOURSELF
Knorhoek Road, Stellenbosch · www.muratie.co.za · 021 865 2330 ·