STELLENBOSCH - SOUTH AFRICA
Without any form of exaggeration, we can say that Warwick Estate today ranks as one of the leading wine companies in Stellenbosch, and even South Africa. Of course, that did not come completely out of the blue. In the first place there is of course the special terroir, in a unique place: directly west of the monumental Simonsberg, the high mountain that dominates the region and which also determines the climate of the region. Warwick Estate is located in a valley enclosed by the Simonsberg, Kanonkop and Klapmutskop.
The historic farm, now called Warwick, was known as "Good Success" from 1791 to 1902. After the Boer War, the farm was bought by Colonel Alexander Gordon, who christened it "Warwick" after the army unit he served for, the Warwickshire regiment. Later the company fell into disrepair and when it was taken over by Stan & Norma Ratcliffe in 1964, there was no longer a grape vine to be seen. Stan and Norma soon realized that they had acquired a special terroir for viticulture and it was not long before they decided to plant Cabernet-Sauvignon, a grape actually made for this region. These Cabernet vines yielded grapes of a high quality, which were very popular with merchants and other wineries for making great wines.
Norma herself became increasingly interested in making wine and decided to train as a winemaker. Norma and Stan decided to build a cellar and in 1984 the first "own" Warwick wine was born, a Cabernet Sauvignon. Norma turned out to have the talent to make great wines and production was able to increase year on year - both in quality and quantity. The Bordeaux blend Trilogy, born in 1986, quickly became one of the great flagships of South African viticulture. This was emphasized when he was selected by South African President Thabo Mbeki to be presented at an official dinner for US President George Bush. It is a recognition of the rare qualities of the Warwick winery.
Winemaker Norma has now taken a step back after 20 years, and has been succeeded by Louis Nel, who is widely regarded as one of South Africa's most talented winemakers. And in 2001, Mike Ratcliffe, son of Norma and Stan, was named CEO. He graduated from the University of Adelaide with a degree in wine marketing. Warwick is thus fully equipped for the future.