Sips that salute women who've shaped the Cape Winelands

Planning a few toasts this Women’s Day? Fill your glass with one of these remarkable wines, each paying tribute to women who've made their mark on the local wine industry

09 August 2018 - 00:00 By Richard Holmes
May de Lencquesaing, founder of Glenelly wine estate in Stellenbosch.
May de Lencquesaing, founder of Glenelly wine estate in Stellenbosch.
Image: Supplied


Named in honour of May de Lencquesaing, founder of the Glenelly Estate in Stellenbosch and one of the most respected figures in the South African wine industry.

Tasting notes: This classically-styled Bordeaux blend is the flagship wine of this local estate.

Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, picked from a single block of cooler east-facing vineyards, there’s just a dash of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc in the blend.

 It’s a wine with an old-world character, favouring elegance and fine tannins over big, bold fruit. A fine tribute to the grande dame of Glenelly.


Named in honour of Maria Magdalena Marais, who is credited with helping to make Neethlingshof is one of the most famous estates in the Cape Winelands.

She was just 18 years old when, in 1788, she and her husband purchased the farm De Wolvendans on the outskirts of the Eikestad. The couple set about planting new vineyards, constructing a cellar and, in 1814, completing the landmark manor house.

Her husband Charles had died the previous year, but Maria continued to expand and improve the estate, laying the foundation for what would become modern-day Neethlingshof. 

Tasting notes: Maria’s legacy is honoured in the farm’s Noble Late Harvest, a wine in the cellars acclaimed Short Story Collection. Made from Weisser Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, there’s a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, making it an ideal pairing with full-flavoured cheeses.


Named in honour of the formidable Catharina Ras. Arriving in the Cape in 1662, her exploits – from hunting lions to out-lasting four husbands – have become as famous as Steenberg, the wine farm she pioneered.

Tasting notes: Few wines show the cool-climate character of this Constantia estate as deftly as the Catharina 2015. It's dominated by Merlot, with spice and tannins from Syrah and Petit Verdot.

Full-bodied yet fresh, it’ll keep happily in the cellar for another decade.

This article is adapted from one originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit