Tucked away in Franschhoek and surrounded by mountains this once rundown and neglected farm is a showpiece where its winning wines take pride of place. 1997 was the first vintage produced – it wowed critics and wines following this have continued to impress – they have been named as one of the top two wineries in South Africa and consistently receive the John Platter five star accolade for their reds.

How Did Boekenhoutskloof get its name The farm, part of Franschhoek’s early beginnings, was a supplier of Boekenhout (Cape Beechwood) a beautiful wood from which much of the Cape’s old furniture – examples of which now exist as antiques – was made. It still flourishes in the riverine fringes and mountain forests of the farm.

The distinctive label references these historical origins and represents the seven members of the owner- syndicate – seven chairs in a row, each one an individual variation of traditional Cape Dutch style.

The syndicate includes the winemaker Marc Kent, Tim Rands (Vinimark), John Hunt and Reg Lascaris (both directors of TBWA), Hans Enderle, chairman of City Lodge hotel group, Alan Teeger, financial director of TBWA and Martin Denny a London-based retired advertising executive.

Winemaker Marc Kent has built up an international reputation as one of South Africa’s greatest wine makers. ‘You can’t make good wine if you don’t know what good wine tastes like’. Marc pays frequent visits to France. This and the homage he pays to the French traditions of winemaking are clearly the inspiration behind the style and philosophy of his own winemaking.

Marc does not enter his wines for awards. “We don’t have the volume to enter major shows,” he says. “Anyway, we’ll find the people who want our wines, or they’ll find us, and that’s all that really matters. “So far it has worked well. All Boekenhoutskloof wines sell out in the year they are marketed and the choicest are booked in advance. The estate has gained cult status because of the balanced, fruit driven wines that reflect the varieties used as much as the soil they come from.