Like so many memorable stories about the origination of great wines and farms, this is a story steeped in heritage.
At the age of 11, David Pieter Graaff was sent to Cape Town to work for his mother's uncle. A successful businessman at 23 years old, David then turned his attention to politics and was elected to the Cape Town City Council. By the time he was 32, in 1891, he had been mayor for a year before becoming a member of the Legislative Council of the Cape Colony. In 1910 Graaff achieved the post of Minister of Public Works, Posts and Telegraphs. It was at this time that Sir David, a well traveled businessman, bought the de Grendel farm to breed Arab horses.
At the age of 54 Sir David married 22-year-old Susanne van Heerden, who produced their first son, DeVilliers Graaff in December 1913. Thereafter two more sons, Dawie and Jannie were born into the family. Sir De Villiers Graaff, like his father, went into politics. He became leader of the opposition in 1956 before retiring from politics in 1977. He returned to the land, moving back to De Grendel where he continued to farm prize-winning cattle and SA Mutton Merino sheep until his death at the age of 85 in 1999.
His first son, David - the current baronet - was born in 1940. He only met his father, who spent years as a prisoner of war, after the war finished in 1945. David, a successful table grape farmer in the Hex River valley and also a former politician, inherited the property. Now, six years later, he is about to breathe new life into the established old farm by taking advantage of Durbanville's reputation as a wine-producing area and launching the prestigious De Grendel Wines into the eagerly awaiting market.
To net a phrase, ‘the rest, they say, is history’.