It was a cold and stormy morning in 1707 when Meldt van der Spuy left his family home in Rotterdam, and, after bequeathing all his worldly possessions to his darling mum, boarded the V.O.C. ship De Schellenberg in search of adventure. Earning his passage as a soldier, his five-year tenure under the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) lead Meldt to places such as Batavia and Ceylon, but it was the Vineyards of Cape Town that stole young Meldt’s heart.
Glad as Meldt was to see his darling mother at the end of his five-year tenure with the V.O.C., the calling of the Cape Town and it’s vineyards was far too strong. After a mere four months back home in Rotterdam, Meldt once again set sail for Cape Town, this time as a petty officer aboard De Kiefhoeck.
Meldt’s ambition for his new life in Cape Town was however not limited to a military career… Meldt became a vryburger (a free citizen of the Cape) on 9 April 1715 and his life in Cape Town quickly became prosperous. Within a year he was married to the beautiful heiress Maria van der Poel, and, after acquiring his first property and one of only four liquor licenses in the Cape at that time, Meldt started to export some of the finest wines of the Cape to the rest of the world.
This venture was by all accounts successful: although an inventory of his possessions at the time of his death is lost to the world, we know that Meldt managed to acquire a further three properties during his life and that his wine trade enabled him to school his eight children in the Netherlands at a considerable cost.
Meldt passed away on 28 October 1734, but his love for wine from the beautiful Cape lived on for generations to come. Meldt’s oldest son Jacobus van der Spuy inherited Groot Constantia farm in 1758 from his mother and was its proprietor until his death on 15 January 1778. Meldt’s descendant, Sybrand van der Spuy, owns the prestigious Cape Point Vineyards today and is the founder of the Cape Town Wine Co.
Whilst the stories of many of the pioneers who built Cape Town’s wine industry is now lost in time, the adventure and romance of their brave spirit lives on. It is in their honour that the Cape Town Wine Co., under stewardship of the Van der Spuy Family, selects grapes from the same pockets of land that was painstakingly cultivated by our forefathers to bring wines to the world that is reminiscent of the beautiful and brave legacy that is quintessentially Cape Town.