Warwick Estate is a family-owned and run winery. Managing Director Michael Ratcliffe is the 3rd generation family member to oversee this high quality boutique operation that has been lauded globally for excellence and consistency. Mike is passionately involved in many aspects of the South African and global wine industry and has held senior leadership positions in industry bodies. From 1771 til 1902, Warwick Wine Farm was known as the farm ‘De Goede Sukses’.
After the Anglo Boer war in 1902, Colonel William Alexander Gordon, Commanding Officer of the Warwickshire regiment decided against returning to England and bought the farm. He renamed it ‘Warwick’ as a tribute to his regiment and the rest, as they say, is history. Warwick was purchased on April 1st 1964 by Stan Ratcliffe after an extensive search for the best ‘terroir’ in the Cape.
Together with his new bride Norma , they soon realized the potential of the extraordinary property and began planting Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines produced high quality grapes, which were soon in demand from neighbouring wineries. Norma became more and more interested in the making of wine and began to study the subject. Soon a cellar was in place and in 1984 the first ‘legal’ Warwick vintage was released (a Cabernet Sauvignon). It seemed Norma had the talent for making great wines and production soon increased. In 1986 Warwick Trilogy was releases, a Bordeaux style blend which has since became one of the flagships of the South African Wine Industry.
The legend of the Warwick Wedding Cup
Centuries ago, in old Nuernberg, the nobel mistress Kunigunde fell in love with a young and ambitious goldsmith. Although Kunigunde`s wealthy father (a powerful nobleman) did not approve of this pair, it was clear that she only wanted the goldsmith to be her husband as she refused many titled and rich suitors who asked for her hand in marriage.
Her father became so enraged that he had the young goldsmith thrown into the darkest dungeon. Not even his daughter`s bitter tears would change her father`s mind.
To her father`s dismay, imprisoning the young man did not end his daughter`s love for the goldsmith. Instead, he could only watch as his daughter grew paler and paler as a result of the separation from her true love.
The wealthy nobleman reluctantly made the following proposal: He told his daughter, “If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride”.
Of course he was certain nobody could perform such a task…
Inspired by love and with skillful hands, the young goldsmith created a masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love`s. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms held a bucket that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker.
The challenge was met. The goldsmith and the nobleman`s daughter joined hands in marriage and with the bridal cup set forth a romantic and memorable tradition as charming today as it was originally hundreds of years ago.
To this day and to many couples the chalice remains a symbol.
Love, faithfulness and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup.