From French Huguenots to German visionaries: The history of Lammershoek

Lammershoek is a Swartland farm with a long and illustrious history. Today the name is synonymous with a range of exceptional wines, as well as the visionary attitudes and guidance of the trio of well-known German businessmen and sporting executives who took the helm in 2013.

However, the farm’s history spans more than three centuries, so we thought we’d take a look at how it became what it is today. This journey takes us back to the early 1700s, when a young and eager French Huguenot named Adriaan van Jaarsveld became the first revolutionary to plant vineyards in the undiscovered Aprilskloof valley along the foothills of the rugged Paardeberg.

Although Adriaan's origins and history are shrouded in mystery, recent genealogical findings suggest that he and his widowed mother made their way to South Africa together in 1691, when he was just 7 or 8 years old. After that, there are precious little supporting documents available to sketch his childhood years in the Cape - the first time his name crops up is in 1701, when he is mentioned in the census documents of the Vryburgers of the Drakenstein as 'a bachelor with 50 sheep, side shotgun and musket’.

Adriaan's farming endeavours in the Drakenstein region put him in contact with the family of another French Huguenot, Guillaume Néel (Nel) and his wife Jeanne de la Batte. He would eventually marry Cornelia Nel, the fourth of their 11 children on 22 November 1711, when she was 21 years old. According to what we know, he must have been around 29 at that age.

Adriaan and Cornelia settled in the region of Malmesbury, and later Riebeek Kasteel, in the midst of a community of French Huguenots. On 31 July 1714, Lammershoek was formally awarded to Adriaan van Jaarsveld as a 'lone farm'. Things went swimmingly from there on out, and official ownership was granted to the couple in 1718. In 1719 we find the first mention of 600 vines being planted on Lammershoek. It was these vineyards that paved the way for the winemaking tradition that is still alive and kicking on the farm three centuries down the line.

Today Lammershoek is in the capable hands of legendary German soccer star Franz Beckenbauer, communications specialist Andreas Abold and sport promotor Fedor Radmann, who specifically selected this unique farm in its pristine environment because it reconciles their notion of taking joy from nature with taking responsibility for the curatorship thereof. Their winemakers strive for optimum soil expression and fruit purity, resulting in a variety of extraordinary wines that span four ranges - The Innocent, the Reserve Range, Libero No 5, and the Mysteries Range. Tastings can be enjoyed by appointment from Monday to Friday between 09:00 and 16:30. Get in touch with the Lammershoek team and make a day of it.

We look forward to whatever is next for the inspiring Lammershoek team. In the meantime, you can head over here to buy some of their exceptional wines and here to keep up with the latest news and events.

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