Wine has been a product of the Valley since the first white man settled there. Vine cuttings were sent to the first commander of the Cape, Jan van Riebeeck, from Germany’s Rhineland in 1654 but arrived rotten. Another batch, sent in the following year, proved to be the root and foundation of the wine industry. The first wine was produced on February 2, 1659 and Van Riebeeck wrote joyously in his diary: Today, praise be the Lord, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes.
From the beginning life was hard. Lions and leopards roamed the mountains, and living conditions were primitive. The first parties were simply given government provisions, the plants to make temporary homes, and much encouragement. The settlers, thrown back on their own ingenuity, courage and resourcefulness, created a hardy, independent and self-sufficient lifestyle based on their strong belief in God and the land.
Banghoek was originally known as ‘De Bange Hoek’ which is how it was indicated on a transport map of Zeven Rivieren in the year 1704. Not only was it dangerously steep but there were gangs, escaped slaves, lions, leopards and other wild animals in the dense forest area. Travelers were wary of this area because many were attacked by these animals and slaves that escaped from prison and thrown into the river. Apparently you still find leopards in these surrounding mountains today.
The road from Stellenbosch originally ran through Idasvallei over the farm Nazareth – today Glen Bourne – to the top of the neck at the farm Die Hel, whose name later became Rust and Vrede nowknown as Kylemore, over Bethlehem and through the Groot Drakenstein.
The owner of Die Hel made his income from toll money and accommodation to farmers making their way to and from the Cape. Today Banghoek is a proud sub region of Stellenbosch. Zorgvliet Wines is proud to be part of this history.