The Rawbone-Viljoen family have been involved in farming since December, 1898 when Sir Antonie Viljoen purchased Oak Valley Estate at an auction - then only bare land.
Peter Rawbone-Viljoen (son of Jimmy Rawbone-Viljoen who ran Oak Valley from 1943 until his passing in 1999) was born on Oak Valley in 1950 and grew up on the estate where he had many pleasurable years exploring the Groenlandberg farmlands which subsequently lead to a love for nature and farming.
Peter purchased Huis-In-Bos in 1997 with an idea of transforming the then Hanepoot occupied land into a micro-wine-farm. Peter’s passion for music is ever growing and in 1999 he built a recording studio on the property while he contemplated which variety of grape to plant – he named the recording studio Digital Forest Studio, which, over the years, has become an international standard recording facility.
Huis-In-Bos, as it has been known since 1952, was originally part of Klein Constantia II (not to be confused with today’s Klein Constantia farm) which was a deduction of Groot Constantia made in 1823 by Anna Catharina Scheller, widow of Hendrik Cloete Jr. for their youngest son Johannes Gerhardus. Klein Constantia II became Hoop op Constantia, Nova Constantia and Buitenverwachting - the land on which Huis-In-Bos stands today formed part of Nova Constantia which was portioned between 1881 and 1950.
The decision to plant the Muscat de Frontignan variety on Huis-In-Bos was made in 2004 during a discussion around a dinner table with the likes of Ross Gower and Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen (of Oak Valley and brother of Peter) present. Ross, Anthony and Peter agreed that the climate in the Constantia Valley best suited the Muscat de Frontignan variety, and, in 2005 development started (with the help of viticulturist, Kevin Watt) on removing the 1.5 hectares of Hanepoot vineyards and planting 2.5 hectares of Muscat de Frontignan – expanding the farming land by 1 hectare.
The maiden harvest of Constantia Nectar took place in February, 2009. All of our harvests are hand picked, then taken to cellar where the grapes are hand sorted, pressed, fermented and then matured in older French Oak for 24 months. Teddy Hall followed up the maiden 2009 vintage with a 2010 vintage.
Between 2011 – 2015 production was halted to allow time to create distribution channels for what we knew was a premium product, during this time our harvests were sold to neighbouring farms. In 2015 the decision was made to continue production, and, for a fresh approach, a new winemaker was appointed based on his “new world” wine making reputation. Our new winemaker has produced 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 vintages which are all maturing in bottle and older French Oak barrels in a secret cellar in Botrivier.
Keep an eye peeled to find out more...