Considering South Africa's history in the wine trade, and the age of some of their wineries, Meinert is a omparatively new venture - founded by Namibian born Martin Meinert, whose family had no experience in wine, but were in the printing and publishing trade. Martin briefly studied engineering before becoming a journalist and it was whilst working for the now obsolete Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg that his interest in wine was ignited and he made the decision to study oenology, graduating from the University of Stellenbosch in 1984; he was one of the top two final year students in the Faculty of Agriculture, and consequently awarded the Professor I. Perold medal.is first job was assistant winemaker at Simonsig Estate. Martin has traveled the globe extensively honing his craft worldwide, and worked for Los Vascos in Chile and Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the Medoc. His accolades are exceptional; collaborating with Ken Forrester to produce the iconic FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin), and instigating the new Vergelegen winery. He has consulted for many of the Cape's top wineries, including Meerendal and Morganhof, and presently consults for the rapidly emerging Eagles' Nest in Constantia.
But Martin's very own wine label story began in 1987 when he bought a 11.5 hectare plot in Stellenbosch's picturesque Devon Valley, which had originally been planted in 1975. The winery was built in 1990 with the first commercial vintage released in 1997, the same year Martin acquired an adjoining parcel of vines which had been planted in 1989, expanding the vineyard to it's present 16 hectares, which is now planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Semillon. Martin sources his Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from top growers in Elgin.
A new era has dawned at Meinert with Brendan Butler joining Martin as winemaker and general manager; this passionate and accomplished young wine master is honouring the Devon Crest legacy, which uses natural yeasts for fermentation and ages the wines in French oak. Each Meinert wine is unique and personnel with just 80,000 bottles released each year of ultra- premium wines.These are cool climate boutique wines, and highly personalised; Martin's wife (whose maiden name was Barry) doesn't like red wines, so La Barry Sauvignon Blanc was created especially for her. The fabulous, Pinotage dominated Printer's Ink is a tribute to the Meinert family's heritage trades, and Meinert's flagship wine, the multi-layered Synchronicity Cape Blend is considered a benchmark in its class. And Martin demonstrates his sense of humour with his curiously named The Italian Job - an intriguing White Merlot (with a splash of Old Vine Chenin). Having been introduced to Merlot Bianco by friends in Switzerland, Martin decided to make his own version, but was subsequently denied White Merlot status because the first vintage was slightly pink in colour - and so the name The Italian Job was coined. The German Job is so called because it is made with German Riesling, the real McCoy, not Cape Riesling (an old cultivar known as Crouchen Blanc in South Africa). The Meinert imaginative logo is completely fictitious, featuring an eagle with a printer's stick in one claw and a tastevin in the other, adapted from the Meinert families printing history in Namibia where they had used the German Master Guild of Printers' two-headed eagle (whose claws held the printer's stick and an ink roller) as a symbol for the sports teams of their company. The wine labels too are highly individual, rooted in the colours of the Devon Crest vineyard, with the trademark burnt orange band making them stand out and distinguishing them among a sea of bottles on the shelves. The writing on the labels is Meinert's own - personalising the personal with his distinctive stamp!
These idiosyncratic wines are full of character and reflect Meinert's passion, each one meticulously crafted, telling the story of its journey from the vineyard to your glass!