The Slanghoek Legends (L to R): Roelf du Toit, Bill Pretorius, Mariè du Toit, Gerrie van der Merwe, Christine le Roux en Cecil le Roux.

Slanghoek Cellar, a well-known Breedekloof Valley wine producer, recently honoured the legends of the valley during a golden event in Worcester.

Respected members of the community were recognised for their contribution to both Slanghoek Wine Cellar’s success and that of the greater Breedekloof Wine Valley region.

Today, there are still descendants of families who started farming in the valley since the 1700s, and the ‘legends’ roots go deep in the area. Pieter Carstens, cellar master at Slanghoek Wine Cellar, mentioned that these ‘legends’ were already honoured by the cellar’s flagship wine – the Legends Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc. But he also considered it very important for the cellar management team to pay homage to these legends in the flesh for their unbelievable contribution to the industry.

The members who received recognition at the event were: Mariè du Toit, who had farmed all by herself on Welverdiend, and enabling her son, Sakkie to buy land in Slanghoek, and ultimately, establishing the Slanghoek Mountain Resort as a result of these negotiations.

Roelf du Toit was a director of Slanghoek Cellar for 37 years and had the self-imposed and unofficial title of ‘town mayor’ of the valley. However, Slanghoek was far removed from being a town.

Also among the honours list was Gerrie van der Merwe, for his inspection as a member of the Slanghoek Wine Cellar and the deep traces he has taken in offering guided tours in the region.

Cecil le Roux, a former director of the cellar, is particularly proud of the cellar and the valley. His philosophy, that “a vine flourishes in the Slanghoek Valley” was applicable to the wines produced under his leadership. “He is a man who speaks little, but when he speaks, everyone listens with respect,” said his son, Theuns Le Roux, during the handover.

Johan Mispel Duwweltjie le Roux was also honoured for his social leadership and support over the years. His wife Christine le Roux accepted the recognition. Bill Pretorius, who worked for 41 years (and 2 months) at Slanghoek Wine Cellar as Manager, from the cellar’s founding year in 1951, and who processed this cellar’s first crop as a wine-maker in 1952, also received recognition. Pretorius’s then-revolutionary ‘klits-pomp’ technology – introduced to the wine industry during the 1970s – was heavily praised. This technology has been refined over the years by various manufacturers of equipment and is today used in cellars worldwide in the flotation process of juice.

ther legends were honoured in absentia: Philuppus du Toit, a hard-working producer who was dedicated and determined to deliver grapes that meet the standards of Slanghoek Cellar, and ‘Stout’ Sakkie du Toit, whose made his mark as director at Slanghoek Cellar. Sakkie was well-loved in the community and was well-known for his willingness to go the extra mile for his fellow human beings. 

Each of the legends was honoured with an ornamental silver tray, and thanked for their long-lasting influence on the Slanghoek Valley.

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