Glenelly Estate lies in the Idas Valley, en route from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek on the beginning of the Helshoogte Pass. Its origins date back to the 17th century. Simon van der Stel, Governor of the Cape, gave the land to the French Huguenot Fran?ois Villon in 1682. In 1812 the estate remained in French hands when it passed on to Johan Peter de Villiers. The vineyards are a heritage site which is revered in Glenelly's holistic approach. The architecture of the main cellar building allows a tiered workflow where the use of gravity in the working warehouse helps to reduce energy consumption ? a veritable waterfall of wine. The barrel cellar's unique feature is 15km of embedded pipe work inside the concrete running cold water to regulate core temperature, saving 70 % energy costs and consumption. Water is recycled throughout the estate, and fynbos borders encourage natural balance between the birds and the bees (and the wasps and the ants) in the vineyards.The winery is the vision of Madame May de Lenquesaing who, after 30 years as the owner of the famous Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux, purchased the estate in 2003. From the stately gates up the slopes past the beautifully restored manor house to a Frank Lloyd Wright-style working space, Glenelly Estate cuts a fine profile of a young wine farm cultured with wisD.. Madame has taken many years of wine making experience in Bordeaux, France, adding local experts who share a vision of sustainable modernity and bottling it.Luke O?Cuinneagain, the winemaker at Glenelly Estate, mentions a very specific focus to make "fresh and elegant wines. "Unlike most, we don?t just whack them in wood, and let the wood lead the wine." he smiles, and sips. Knowing there's a better way to blend old and new is key to Glenelly Estate wine. Combining hands-on and state of the art methods, they mix contemporary technology and timeless practices, sometimes importing techniques that O?Cuinneagain learned during his time abroad working at some of the best wineries in France. For example, ripe vine stems are used in the fermentation process to impart freshness to the Glass Collection Shiraz: "Rather than spice, you get violet and jasmine coming through." smiles Luke. Poetry, pure and simple.
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