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Rust en Vrede – Standing the Test of Time

Africa remains a mystery to any one who has not been lucky enough to visit there. Most of us think of primitive countries, not very cosmopolitan and certainly not noted for their wine.

That is why people are so surprised to learn that South Africa is a very cosmopolitan country with an excellent winemaking industry that dates back to the seventeenth century.

Rust en Vrede is a historic winemaking estate in South Africa and its namesake describes the soil and the grapes of this important vineyard, it means Rest and Peace. Certainly, the wonderful lush setting is conducive to just that, as are the award-winning red wines that Rust en Vrede produces.

The Estate is Ideal for Winegrowing

The soil on the estate is perfect for growing grapes for red wine, the only type of wine produced at Rust en Vrede. Climate has a great influence on growing grapes used in wine making and this historic estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa is on the northern facing slope of the valley to get the most sunshine. The climate is ideal for vineyards as it almost identical to the Mediterranean climate of Europe, which is excellent for growing wine grapes. Spring is dry and mild, plenty of rain during the dormant growing season of winter with cold, but not freezing temperatures. Summers are not too hot as ocean breezes regulate the climate, along with nearby lakes and dams. You might say this is a paradise for grapes.

Although the region has made wine for over 300 years, Rust en Vrede, during its 316-year history only dabbled in winemaking until Jean Engelbrecht bought the estate in 1977.

The Wines of Rust en Vrede

The strategy of the Engelbrecht family is to only make red wines. As a testimony to the estate’s success, past and current vintage wines have won many awards. The red wines produced by Rust and Vrede include:

Estate 2010

This is the flagship product of the winery. It is a gold medal winner in the Selections Mondiales Des Vins, received 93 point from Wine Spectator Magazine,and won gold medals in three other international competitions.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator Magazine.

Merlot 2012

Gold medal winner at Veritas.

1694 Classification (2008 Vintage)

Wine Spectator magazine awarded this wine 94 points.

Single Vineyard Syrah 2010

Awarded a silver medal at Veritas.

The People Behind the Wine

The Engelbrecht family is dedicated to producing the finest red wines possible. Recently Jean Senior retired from everyday management and turned command of the estate over to his son, Jean. Over the past 37 years, the vineyard has had only three wine makers.

The first winemaker was Jean Engelbrecht, he was an owner/winemaker and laid out the strategy of producing only reds. He used mostly grapes from his own vineyards and succeeded in building a successful regionally recognized wine.

In 1987 Kevin Arnold became the manager and head winemaker at Rust en Vrede. Over the next ten years he brought the winery into national and international renown. He left in 1996 to open his own winery close by.

Arnold’s successor is Coenie Snyman, who is a graduate of Stellenbosch University and has a Bachelor of Science degree in viticulture and oenology. Following graduation, he worked in Sonoma, California. There he gained important experience that he brought to Rust en Vrede along with great academic credentials in 2006.

He is only the third winemaker at the estate since it began its current wine production. In 2009, he earned “Winemaker of the Year” for his Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.

The Restaurant

In 2008 the Engelbrecht family opened a restaurant on the estate that shares the estate’s name. With succulent outdoor gardens for before dinner drinks and a beautifully appointed dining room with panoramic views the ambiance is only surpassed by the gourmet food. From its opening until the present, the restaurant has won many awards including:


  • Diners Club Wine List Awards (Platinum)
  • Conde Naste Hot Tables of 2008


  • Wine Spectator Award of Excellence
  • Diners Club Wine List Awards (Platinum)


  • Great Wine Capitals of the World Best Global Restaurant
  • Wine Spectator Award of Excellence


  • Great Wine Capitals of the World Best National Restaurant
  • Wine Spectator Award of Excellence


  • Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

Residents of South Africa as well as visitors are never disappointed when they visit the restaurant.

The Engelbrecht family's success formula is stick with what works

whether it is people or methods and use those as tools for improvement. With all the wine awards and accolades for the restaurant, this formula works.



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