A legacy of pioneers
IS WRITTEN IN RICH SOIL
a piece of land 90 hectares wide and four generations deep.
maps bloodlines and plot lines across a unique terroir:
where the soil speaks of heritage, home and superior wines.
It was almost a century before the founding of Overgaauw farm that the very first Van Velden, Pastor Dirk, left the Netherlands with his wife Elizabeth Overgaauw, to make their home in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Their son trekked down to Stellenboch and married the daughter of a local farmer, whom he subsequently swept back to KwaZulu-Natal.
As fate would have it, the couple met a premature death, leaving an orphaned one-year-old son – Abraham Julius – to return to the farm of his maternal grandparents. In 1905 the original farm, By-den-Weg, was subdivided into three properties – one of which was given to Abraham Julius van Velden. Today it’s known as Overgaauw Wine Estate.
ABRAHAM VAN VELDEN
DAVID VAN VELDEN SNR
BRAAM VAN VELDEN
DAVID VAN VELDEN
Current owner and winemaker with his wife Nicole and two boys
Braam and Conraad
David grew up on Overgaauw. When he took his first steps, they were in the direction of the cellar where his father Braam had great trouble keeping young David out of the cellar and out of harm’s way. When David turned five, Braam gave up and had to be content with David as his constant shadow. Needless to say, he experienced his first wine tastings rather early on.
He is resolutely proud to be continuing a line of winemaking pioneers – the sense of respect for the land and legacy deeply ingrained in his DNA. This heritage of 110 years of Van Velden wine-making has stood David in good stead as he puts his stamp on the Overgaauw Wines.
2009 onwards: Aspiring to elevate the wine quality and perception of the Overgaauw Terroir with every vintage.
Braam in the cellar with his sons David and Niel
In 1973, the baton was passed to the third generation of Van Veldens – David Snr’s only son, Braam. A graduate from Stellenbosch University with a BCom degree, Braam spent a year at the Geisenheim Institute of Wine in Germany where he studied viticulture. Together with viniculture, this became his passion.
Following the Van Velden way of intensive, hard work; Braam engaged in an exhaustive mapping of the farm’s soils in the late 1970s, to determine the best-matched varietals to terroir. At the start of Braam’s tenure, 90% of the farm was planted to white varietals. Today, almost 60% of vineyards are planted to reds.
1982: Produced and bottled the first Merlot in South Africa.
The viticulture and winemaking pioneer of Overgaauw.
1945 marked a new era, with Abraham’s son David (Senior) taking over management of the farm, and introducing Port varietals to the blessed terroir. He planted five different cultivars – Tinta Barocca, Tinta Francisca, Cornifesto, Souzão and Tinta Roriz – and in accordance with traditional Portuguese methods, he harvested and crushed the grapes together. This was an industry first in South Africa.
1963 saw another innovation with the introduction of Sylvaner to the South African landscape. To this day, the Van Veldens are the only local producers of this German varietal.
1970: The maiden vintage of Overgaauw Estate wines bottled.
The founder of Overgaauw Wine Estate with his family.
It is only fitting that the first Van Velden winemaker, the father of winemaking generations, should share the name of another great patriarch in history (Abraham Perold, the ‘father of Pinotage’). Abraham founded the 90ha farm in 1905 and named it after his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Overgaauw.
He built his wine cellar four years later, literally laying the foundation for the generations to follow, and shifting the farm’s focus to all things vinous. So commenced Overgaauw’s production of wine – initially only for bulk sale.
1905: Overgaauw Wine Estate founded.