The farm’s history can be traced back to 1689, just ten years after Stellenbosch was founded. The land was granted to Frederick Boot by Simon van der Stel with the original name of Zandberg. The first vines were planted in 1694 as well as the construction of the house. In 1833 the farm changed hands to the Scholtz family who changed the farm’s name to Scholtzenhof. The family farmed here for almost 100 years until the farm passed through a series of owners. The farm fell into hard times in the early 1990s and Ken and his wife Teresa acquired it in 1993 through auction, the first step in fulfilling a lifelong dream. The farm and house were derelict and needed much care and attention, and the maiden vintage under the Ken Forrester label was produced in 1994. The estate still has the honour of caring for Chenin vines planted in the 1970s, offering fruit that has exceptionally low yields and intense purity. Ken found his winemaking stride in Chenin Blanc, a noble Old-World cultivar that was widely planted in South Africa as a key brandy cultivar, foreseeing the potential of making SA its New-World home. His passion for Chenin was joined by a few other producers becoming the founding members of the Chenin Blanc Association in the year 2000. Ken’s commitment and ever-growing reputation for this cultivar established his title as “Mr Chenin”.
The Ken Forrester farm has been a platform for Ken and Theresa to pursue and promote important issues starting with a vision for farming sustainability with maximising job opportunities. The farm activities are mostly done by hand from tilling, pruning, and thinning to harvesting, which is immensely labour intensive and hugely satisfying. The estate goes a step further in sustainability and does not use herbicides or pesticides which can significantly impact the natural ecosystem.
Ken Forrester supports the Lynedoch Children’s House, a Sustainability Institute initiative, established in 2000 as a dedicated preschool. This school provides an integrated and ecologically focused learning and nature-based play, nurturing every facet of the extraordinary potential.
Ken Forrester is also a supporter of the South African arts by offering the tasting room as a gallery featuring local talent to an international audience. Ken is also a supporter of animal rescue centres with an annual drive to collect vital supplies, whenever Ken is around on the farm, his four-legged friends are never far behind.
When you pour a glass of Ken Forrester wine, know that you are playing a part in this wide network of support that uplifts and develops, making it so much more than a glass of wine.