Steeped in history dating back to 1692, Lanzerac Wine Estate is a historic landmark and Stellenbosch icon. The grande dame is synonymous with old-world charm and rich Cape heritage. Positioned in the idyllic Jonkershoek Valley on the outskirts of the historical town of Stellenbosch, the Estate boasts views of dramatic mountain ranges, endless rows of lush vineyards and hectares of gardens shaded by giant Oak trees.The homestead was transformed into a manor house in 1959 – reminiscent of the traditional French way of fusing a country hotel and wine estate. Today the iconic property hosts an elegant five-star Country hotel, acclaimed bars, restaurants and Deli, a remarkable tasting venue and a chic day spa.
Lanzerac is steeped in spellbinding history, having been established in 1692 – a mere 13 years after Stellenbosch itself and is the third oldest farm in the area. The first owner was Isaac Schrijver who planted the very first vineyards and, unsurprisingly, named the farm Schoongezicht, meaning wonderful view. In the early 1800’s the first cellar was erected and subsequently complemented by the iconic Manor House, which exhibits an unusually high level of sophistication for Cape Dutch architecture of the period with its main gable dating back to 1830.
The Manor House and Werf, which now stands proud as a Provincial Heritage Site, underwent significant changes by one of the property’s most influential owners, Elizabeth Catherina ‘Kitty’ English, who bought Schoongezicht in 1920. Mrs English changed the estate’s name to Lanzerac, rumoured to be after General Charles Lanrezac – a French General, who commanded the French Fifth Army at the outbreak of World War I. She also transformed it during her nine years of ownership into one of the most modern wineries in the Cape, laying the foundations for Stellenbosch’s world-renowned wines. Mrs English passed away in 1929, and in 1934 the Estate was bought by Jacobus Tribelhorn – the builder who had extended the Manor House for Mrs English. He continued her legacy of producing wines of exceptional quality.
The wine farm’s next owner, Angus Batts Buchanan, improved the estate’s reputation to another level by winning several awards for the wines, sherry and brandy that he proudly produced and, in doing so, established Lanzerac as a leading brand. Buchanan’s nephew, ‘Lord’ David Rawdon, ushered in an exciting new era when he purchased Lanzerac in 1958, by converting the farm into an elegant hotel and landmark. He converted the original cellar and its surrounding buildings into bars, lounges, dining area and hotel rooms. Since then the Lanzerac become synonymous with Stellenbosch’s social agenda and provided many local and foreign tourists a unique winelands experience, characterised by its heritage and commitment to friendly ‘Boland’ culture and service commitment.
The Lanzerac wine estate has been under current ownership since 2012. Committed to bring the grande dame’s infrastructure and service levels into a 21st century luxury experience without compromising on its heritage, extensive renovations begun early in 2013. In the early hours of Sunday morning, 28 May 2017, a tragic fire severely damaged the main operational areas of the Hotel, and for the first time since the Rawdon brothers converted the estate to a hotel, the Lanzerac had to close its doors to the public for 13 months. On the first of July 2018 – the Lanzerac proudly re-opened its doors to the public, characterized by the same glory, legacy and country chic she has been known for over the decades but now being able to compliment its magnificent and unique offering synonymous with period grandeur, with 21st century luxury.