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The Farm’s Background

Starting from a clean slate the decision was made to be different and stand out in a crowded wine world – creating the most or the best wine as considered. He was moved by offering something small but special, where less is more – an authentic experience; therefore the sights were set on seeing how high the bar could be lifted on quality. After extensive research utilising state-of-the-art satellite technology, they discovered a small piece of land in the Banhoek Valley, formerly known as Glen Arum which showed a promise of unique and superlative soil types.

Situated in the Banhoek Valley between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek on the Helshoogte Pass, Glen Arum is blessed with unsurpassed views. The farm rests is 600 feet above Stellenbosch and 6.5km from town. Protected by the prevailing summer and winter winds, the Banhoek Valley is surrounded by the Simonsberg Mountain as well as Botmaskop and the Groot Drakenstein mountain range. The small farm is surrounded by only six other wine producers, including renowned estates Tokara, owned by GT Ferreira of First Rand fame, and world-class winery Thelema Mountain Vineyards and Rustenburg.

The farm was originally owned by Catherine Heywood, who is remembered as one of the greatest authors of her era. Her novel Cape Hills in Sunlight describes life in the Banhoek Valley during the 1930’s. Heywood’s son, Christopher Heywood, is also an acclaimed author and his astute political commentary led to his banishment from the country by the previous regime.  It was on the farm that the first Montessori School was established with the veranda acting as classroom during summer and in the dining room during winter days.

The farm was later sold to the Grobler family who resided on the estate for nearly 25 years.  According to valley legend…  Glen Arum once included its neighbouring farm Le Pommier. Andre Grobler, the philanthropic owner of the estate, was pressed for more than a decade by a good friend to divide the land and sell to him. Andre persistently refused claiming that “this soil is my responsibility and has more meaning than any amount of money”. After a decade of consistent persuasion, Andre sold a part of the farm to his lifelong friend, who immediately sold the newly acquired land for a vast amount of money breaking his word and Andre’s heart. Andre went on to take his own life…

For Andre’s widow, Margo Grobler, Brugman’s vision resurrected that of her late husband and she signed the deed of sale on 21 August 2002 hoping that Brugman would eventually fulfil Andre’s dreams. This is our commitment.