Robertson, South Africa
See Excelsior wines we sell
The De Wet family first came to the Cape from Holland in 1697 and in 1859 purchased a large piece of farm land in the Robertson area. Today the De Wets of Robertson still farm in this beautiful valley well known for wine and horse farming. The De Wet family is well known in the area and other branches of the De Wet family own farms such as De Wetshof and Arabella.
The history of Excelsior goes back for many generations. Koos de Wet founded a large farm in the Robertson area which was divided up between his sons. The third son, known as Kowie, inherited the portion which became known as Excelsior. At the time ostrich feathers were big business in London and Kowie de Wet of Excelsior made a fortune ostrich farming. The advent of the automobile brought an end to most ostrich farms as fashions changed to go along with riding in cars instead of on a horse drawn carriage. People no longer wanted ostrich feathers and many farms became insolvent, but quick thinking by Kowie meant that Excelsior made the change from ostriches to horses and wines.
Robertson is a good region for horse farming because of the high occurrence of limestone soils, which provides more minerals in the grass eaten by the horses. Excelsior produced several champion horses, but eventually the horse farming gave way to wine grapes. The same limestone soils that are good for horses are also good for grapes. Today the estate is run by Peter De Wet, great-grandson of Kowie De Wet. The farm has 220 hectares planted to vines and exports its wines to twenty countries.