Rustenberg has a wine-growing history dating back to 1682,
when Roelof Pasman from Meurs, near the Rhine, recognised its wine-growing
potential. By 1781 some 3000 cases of wine were produced on the farm.
Production doubled by the end of the century and a new cellar was built. Wine
has been bottled at this cellar for an unbroken period since 1892.
In the early 1800s Rustenberg was divided by owner Jacob
Eksteen and a section was given to his son-in-law, who named it Schoongezicht
and sold it soon after. Rustenberg and Schoongezicht were at their peak around
1812, with beautiful homesteads and flourishing vineyards. But by mid-century,
recession coupled with disease in the vines, brought bankruptcy and
Schoongezicht was rescued in 1892 by John X Merriman (who
was to become Prime Minister of the Cape), and Rustenberg by his brother-in-law
Sir Jacob Barry. Together they revitalised the farms. Fruit was sent to Covent
Garden; new vines were grafted onto disease-resistant American rootstock; wines
were exported to England and the Continent – and even found in Siberia.
In 1941 Peter and Pamela Barlow bought Rustenberg, later
acquiring Schoongezicht and reuniting the properties. Their son Simon took over
the running of the farm in 1987. Simon’s son, Murray, joined in the running of
the farm with his father in 2012. The Barlows have been at Rustenberg for over
75 years: the longest period any one family has owned the farm.
Rustenberg Wines is renowned for producing award-winning, internationally
This wine is named in honour of a former owner of
Rustenberg, John Xavier Merriman, who bought the farm in 1892 in sympathy with
farmers suffering from the phylloxera crisis. He played a great role in
revitalizing Rustenberg and in promoting the tourism and agricultural value of
Ida’s Valley, the area close to the town of Stellenbosch in which Rustenberg is
The wine itself is a Bordeaux-style blend, with all of the
fruit coming from the Estate, and made predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon
and Merlot, the greater of which depends on which varietal has a better showing
over the other in any vintage. The John X Merriman is therefore a wonderful
representation of the Estate, as well as the characteristics of a vintage.