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Ken Forrester

Ken Forrester is an award-winning winemaker, known as “The King of Chenin”. His wines have won international acclaim and literally hundreds of awards and accolades. His farm is situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains in Somerset West, right in the heart of Stellenbosch. It is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa. Originally settled in 1689 when Frederick Boot of Gotha was granted 64 morgen by Simon van der Stel. Frederick changed his name to Botha – he is the forefather of the Botha presidents of South Africa. In 1694 he planted the first wines on the property and began construction on the house, calling the estate Zandberg. Frederick was a colourful character who fathered eight children out of wedlock – a feat that earned him and his mistress banishment to Mauritius for 10 years! In 1833 the Scholtz's, another German family, changed the name of the farm to Scholtzenhof on acquisition and continued to grow vines and remained on the property for 100 years. A succession of owners followed through to the 1990's when it fell on hard times – enter Ken Forrester in 1993. Ken had begun his career in the hotel industry and went on to specialise in the restaurant trade, so it was a natural progression to decide that he wanted to make wine. He and his wife Teresa fell in love with the neglected estate and bought the derelict farm at auction. This was at time when the South African wine industry was in stagnation, but Ken began a massive renovation of the vineyards whilst Teresa concentrated on restoring the 17th century house. The first wines under the Ken Forrester label were produced in 1994 from grapes sourced from his own estates vines, some of them planted in 1970 – the Chenin revival had begun! The vineyards are farmed sustainably with organic principles. Ken is a leading proponent of Chenin Blanc and his name is synonymous with this variety, having single-handedly led a Chenin revolution resulting in cult status. But he also makes fantastic red wines, especially The Bordeaux style Pat's Garden, and Rhône inspired Renegade and The Gypsy. Three ranges of handcrafted wines are produced, targeting distinct tiers: The Petit Range is elegant, but pocket-friendly and for everyday drinking; the Reserve Range is made from grapes from older vineyards which show depth and concentration, and the Icon Range is made from extremely low yielding single parcel vines from a postage stamp sized vineyard which produces pure and intense complex wines. Chenin Blanc remains a fascination and an ongoing exploration – All Hail!

www.kenforresterwines.com