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Thelema Mountain Vineyards
With new world wines on the rise, many of the dowagers of the region can get forgotten about. Why, for example, would you consider a Kanonkop, when you have a sexy little Eben Sadie number waiting for you back home? But you would be mistaken to ignore the oldies (which, relatively speaking, are just babes in arms compared to some of the European dinosaurs). Thelema Mountain vineyards, planted in 1983, is one such oldie that should not left to the back shelf.
From the calculator to the fields
Upon drinking a Burgundy Puligny-Montrachet in 1983, Gyles Webb, an accountant from Durban, had an epiphany. He retrained as an oenologist, bought a decrepit old 157-hectare fruit farm, ripped out the orchards and planted vines. Restoration of the manor took five years so he concentrated on that while the grapes were maturing, and in 1988 the first wine under the label Thelema was released. The fresh, fruity, wines were not only leaders in the new world wine movement but also a revelation to many (including to a certain extent Webb himself). It wasn’t long before the romantic tale of a run-down old fruit farm became the success story of a modern winery. By the late 1990s, Thelema was the wine du jour among South Africa’s elite.

Despite Webb being considered something of a winemaking visionary, in 2000, he handed the reins of winemaking to the talented Rudi Schultz and moved into the role of cellar master. In 2002, Webb expanded his operation to the cool climate coastal region of Elgin where the winery produces its Sutherland line of wines.
The Cab Sav king of Stellenbosch
With all new world wines gaining traction in the investable wine market, Thelema’s Cabernet Sauvignons (particular the stunning 2015) are considered blue-chip investments among those in the know. Long-ageing and underpricing (think €20-25 in Europe for a bottle) have seduced market investors. But watch out - the 2015 has shown a sharp price hike of almost 60% in less than 12-months since August 2018, so it looks like we are not the only ones whom Thelema is tempting.