Die Bergkelder, the famous ‘cellar in the mountain’ and home of Fleur du Cap wines on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, has been carefully refurbishment to offer wine lovers a more intimate experience with the wines and their origins.
Officially opened in 1968 as the first bottle maturation cellar of its kind in the southern hemisphere, Die Bergkelder fulfilled the dreams of Dr Anton Rupert and Dr Alfred Baumgartner, directors of Distillers Corporation (SA) Limited, the owner of the property at the time. This major investment in a technologically advanced underground wine cellar for the production of quality wines was a major shift in focus for the organisation which until then had earned most of its income from brandy.
Dr Baumgartner, who was the Chief Chemist and Wine Technologist for 35 years, harnessed the world’s most modern machinery, equipment and techniques to produce some of the finest wines in the country under the Fleur du Cap and
In the 1970’s, with Dr Julius Laszlo as visionary Cellarmaster, Die Bergkelder played a pivotal role in changing the face of the South African wine industry. Determined to produce world-class wines, he was one of the key protagonists in finding new plant material and encouraging grape-growers to introduce classic noble varietals to their vineyards such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
As a tribute to Dr Laszlo who passed away in July last year, a dedicated Laszlo Room for private tastings now takes pride of place in the refurbished cellar. In 2007 Fleur du Cap released an exclusive signature blend, Laszlo 2004, in his honour. Dr Laszlo was able to attend the launch and reminisce with old friends over dinner in Die Bergkelder, the very mountain cellar he helped to establish.
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