Not a moment too soon! Can Lievland be revived to former glory?
LOVELY news it was to hear that the historic-but-neglected Lievland Wine Estate in the foothills of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch is to be returned to its former glory. At least, that’s the aspiration of the new owners who acquired the 300-year-old, 110ha farm from Dr Susan Colley for an undisclosed sum – presumably in excess of R50-million, given the status of esteemed neighbours Kanonkop, Warwick, Uitkyk?! Speaking for the purchasers MAN Family Wines, whose owners include the Myburghs of Joostenberg in Paarl and De Meye in the Muldersvlei area as well as the Condés of Stark-Condé in the Jonkershoek Valley of Stellenbosch, José Condé divulges that there are exciting plans on the drawing board but…
“We will begin building a separate bottling cellar and warehouse for MAN,” says Condé. It will be on a lower part of the farm relative to Lievland’s cellar and tasting room which are about to be renovated and have been closed to the public until the end of the year. The first Lievland wines under the new ownership will be released in late 2018: “Non-estate wines, because we still have a lot of work to do on the vineyards. We know the [good] reputation it once had for Shiraz, [but] I am not ready to suggest I know what the flagship will be,” he says, contemplating the different slopes of the 60ha suitable for planting vines that may well lend themselves to a number of varieties.
Condé would like to build a cafe/restaurant at Lievland one day, but the zoning will take a while and the team wants to concentrate on the cellar and vineyards first. With Theunis Bell as viticulturist, Riaan Möller will be in charge of the winemaking for both Lievland and MAN, the latter having become an export-focussed business that has grown to over 200 000 cases since it was established in 2001, supplied by some 30 farmers in the Agter-Paarl area.