The name Leeuwenkuil, or “Lion’s Lair”, was a tribute to the ferocious Cape Lion (now extinct). Watering holes in the area were then frequented by these lions, which posed a great threat to local cattle farmers. Originally, in 1693, Leeuwenkuil was known as Schinderkuijl. This German name refers to the tradition of gathering materials from demolished buildings or shipwrecks to create something entirely new – as happened on the farm. Today the buildings on Leeuwenkuil are some of the oldest and most valuable in the entire region. While the manor house was built using stone, the lintels above the manor doors were sourced from the bottom of a ship’s bow. The Leeuwenkuil courtyard still has the same historical layout as back in 1704 with two long houses, outbuildings and animal pens.
Schinderkuijl was one of the early wine farms of the region and had 8000 vines planted on it. In 1800, following its subdivision, the farm’s name was changed to Leeuwenkuil and in 1851, the Dreyer family became the new owners. Johan Frederik Dreyer was a direct descendant of Johannes Augustus Dreyer who, legend has it, fled Germany in 1713 after defeating his opponent in a sword fight over a woman.
Willie and Emma Dreyer are now the owners of Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards. Willie inherited half of the farm, which back then comprised of 45 hectares of vineyards. Emma grew up a mere two farms north of Leeuwenkuil and has a first-hand grasp of all facets of farming.