Meerendal Wine Estate in the Durbanville Wine Valley celebrated the 350 years of South African wine by planting a historic vineyard today. It is 350 years since Jan van Riebeeck made the first wine at the Cape on 2nd February 1659. Meerendal was founded in 1702 and was one of the first wine farms in the Tygerberg that would become Durbanville later. Meerendal was also one of the first 14 farms to be granted Wine Estate status in 1973 when the Wine of Origin Legislation was introduced. A special site with virgin soil was selected for this new vineyard. It lies next to the Pinotage Heritage Block vineyard and the soil has a soft, loamy texture with some clay. Three hundred and fifty vines have been planted to pay homage to the 350 years of SA Wine. The vines that have been planted have a unique origin. Meerendal was one of the first farms to plant Pinotage in the early 1950’s. One vineyard that was planted in 1955 has remained intact and these bush vines produce the grapes for the single vineyard wine called the Heritage Block Pinotage. It was decided to use this vineyard as the source of material for the 350 vineyard as the vines came from the original stock of Prof Perold, the father of Pinotage that was supplied to the wine farmers then. In this way Meerendal is continuing the historic link with the origin of Pinotage and ensuring that the original planting material here is preserved for the future. In June 2008 cuttings from these bush vines were taken to Cape Vines Nursery that grafted them on to Paulsen root stock, ready for planting this year. The guests that attended included representatives of the famous Pinotage farms of the 1950’s ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ Bellevue, Kanonkop and Uiterwyk ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ wine writers, Cape Wine Masters, the Pinotage Association, other industry leaders, all the winemakers of the Durbanville Wine Valley, the present owners and staff of Meerendal, children of the Starke family that previously owned Meerendal for 75 years and invited guests. The guests could select their vines from the table that was set up in the new vineyard and proceed to the holes that were prepared. After the planting ceremony each guest signed a special scroll that will be displayed in the tasting room at Meerendal. The first wine will be made in 2012 and the few barrels made from the 350 vines will be kept separately and bottled as a reserve wine. Meerendal is proud to continue its commitment to the South African wine industry through this project and to the rich heritage of Pinotage that this estate has since the first release of a bottled Meerendal Pinotage in 1969.