"A storied history"
Tucked away amidst the serene expanse of Bottelary, a land christened with a Dutch moniker meaning "pantry," stands the Fort Simon Wine Estate, an exquisite testament to a storied history and a passion for viticulture. Named "Houmoed," meaning courage, this estate emerged in 1922 when it was carved from the larger "Goede Hoop" property, marking its own journey through time.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Bottelary was a rich pantry providing fresh produce to Dutch vessels coursing by the Cape of Good Hope. It is within this fertile, historic land that the late Dr. Simon Uys discovered a pastoral retreat for his family in 1962. At the time, the estate was modest, a serene ranch graced by a petite patch of Riesling vineyards, accented by an assortment of citrus and fig trees.
As the 1970s unfolded, Dr. Uys brought new life to Houmoed. With foresight and passion, he introduced Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards to the estate. The new vines thrived, their luscious fruits first supplied to Distillers, who found themselves captivated by the unique quality and character that the terroir imbued in the grapes.
Dr. Uys had a grand vision - a cellar of his own, filled with wine produced from his estate's exceptional grapes, which were becoming increasingly sought after by winemakers. However, fate intervened, and the beloved Dr. Uys passed away in 1994 at the age of 68, before his dream could be realized.
"a tribute to his beloved father"
At this juncture, Dr.Uys's youngest son, Renier Uys, who at that time served the role of viticulturist for 16 years stepped forth from his father's shadow. Fueled by his father's vision and determination, Renier set out to transform the landscape of the estate once again.
In 1997, the wine cellar rose from the earth, its architecture echoing the silhouette of a fort, an homage to Dr. Uys's aesthetic preference. As a tribute to his beloved father, Renier christened this majestic building as the "Fort Simon," a testament to the spirit of perseverance, the love for viticulture, and a nod to the Uys family's contribution to the legacy of Bottelary.
In 1998, the Fort Simon Wine Estate proudly released its first vintage, featuring a captivating variety of wines: Anna Simon, a red blend, as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each offering reflected the rich, fertile soils of Bottelary, marking Fort Simon's debut in the wine world.
Anna Simon, a unique blend of Merlot and Pinotage, emerged as the star of the collection. Its originality and rich flavors were recognized with a double gold medal at the prestigious Veritas Wine Awards. This international recognition signified a fitting tribute to the late Dr. Simon Uys and solidified Fort Simon Wine Estate's place in the world of winemaking. The success story of the Fort Simon Wine Estate was a testament to the vision and passion of the Uys family, demonstrating that their dedication had resulted in remarkable wines.