Cape Heritage Wines

Online-Only Auction, 22 - 29 August 2022

Cape Heritage Wines

Sold for

ZAR 15 243
Lot 93
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml
  • Zonnebloem; Cabernet Sauvignon; 1945; 2 (1 x 2); 750ml


Lot Estimate
ZAR 15 000 - 30 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 15 243

About this Item

Cabernet Sauvignon, 1945
2 (1 x 2) 750ml

A staple of the SA wine scene, Zonnebloem was first established in 1692 in Simondium near Paarl before Distell took over in 1963. Zonnebloem, meaning sunflower, uitilise benchmark varietal features, sensible use of wood where relevant resulting in wines that are often unflashy yet simply spectacular.

The wine was made by John (JWL) de Villiers who was the owner and winemaker of Zonnebloem farm, Simondium, from 1942 to 1948. The bottles bear the original Zonnebloem label, based on the de Villiers family crest, with the motto La Main A’ L’oeuvre (the hand that works). It is the oldest remaining Zonnebloem estate wine.

In his seven years as winemaker, de Villiers won nearly 700 prizes and trophies, including the WH Lategan trophy, the Farmer's Weekly silver medal and the Quality Wine Growers' Society of South Africa trophy (in both 1945 and 1946). At the 1946 show he won 10 trophies – the most ever by one winemaker – as well as the Farmer's Weekly gold medal. De Villiers was also named the South African champion winemaker.

De Villiers' Zonnebloem Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon were also selected for the official wine list of the White Train on which the British royal family toured through South Africa in 1947.

De Villiers, who was described as the wine king of South Africa in the late 1940s, however died shortly afterwards in July 1948 at the early age of 32. Shortly after his sudden death, the then SFW (Stellenbosch Farmer’s Winery) successfully applied to register the name Zonnebloem as a trademark in their name. The de Villiers family were unaware of the registration and only became aware of this at a much later stage. Objection was lodged with the then managing director of SFW, JB Dempers. The last letter to Dempers in this regard, dated 20 September 1973, was never answered. This matter therefore remains unresolved. In 1956, Zonnebloem was sold to de Villiers' sister-in-law, Marie Crouse, after which it was owned by the Crouse family until 2003. The 77-year-old wine has since been looked after by John de Villiers Junior.

According to historian Chris Venter's Historia Journal of the Historical Society of South Africa Vol. 57 No.2 of November 2012, the wine was judged by wine experts on two occasions. In 1977, the International Institute of Masters of Wine described the wine as ‘magnificent, superb wine – a great experience’. In 1986, Francis (Duimpie) Bayly, the then managing director of SFW, presented a wine tasting in the company's ‘tabernacle’, where this wine, among others, was judged. The wine guru Godfrey de Bruyn was of the opinion that this wine was the criterion against which the other wines should be tested. Dr William Winshaw, founder of SFW, regarded the 1945 Cabernet Sauvignon as ‘the first great red wine ever to be produced in South Africa’.

Critics Ratings

'Quite aromatic, red-fruited with good purity, especially for 77 years! Soft, slightly sweet entry, cherries and raspberry on the palate with a baked, earthy edge. Seemed to have become more vibrant after 10 minutes in the glass to become quite beguiling and super smooth. A beautiful wine and experience, considering the rarity of this wine. It’s the first 1945 Zonnebloem we have ever seen, and likely the only bottles in existence.' – Roland Peens (June 2022) - John de Villiers collection.  

Provenance

Private Client

View all Zonnebloem lots for sale in this auction



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