Franschhoek, South Africa
See Lynx wines we sell
Lynx Estate is nestled in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, in the center of the Cape winelands. Founders Dieter and Diana Sellmeyer purchased the table grape farm in 1997 with the plan to replant to wine grapes. Originally the plan was to produce wine as a hobby for home consumption with the balance of the grapes being sold off to other producers in the valley. That plan quickly changed and the maiden vintage was the 2003 harvest, with only 500 cases produced. The 2005 John Platter Guide to South African Wines awarded the Shiraz 4 1/2 Stars (out of 5), making Lynx Wines the only new entry achieving such a high rating for a red wine. To prove that this was no fluke, the two sister wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Xanache, each got 4 stars. All the grapes are estate grown and the team spends a lot of time in the vineyards to focus on quality. Computerized moisture monitoring and rigorous vertical shoot positioning canopy control are keys to grape quality. In addition the farm produces nearly 90 tons of grapes, of which they carefully select 15% for our own vinification, selling the rest to other private cellars. This way they really get the cream of the crop.
Dieter is the first to admit that he did not study winemaking and only got into it at age fifty. He makes up for it with his passion and dedication. His engineering background also helped and he met a lot of helpful winemakers through a side business which sells niche products to the wine industry. Grapes are harvested very morning and are in the cellar by mid-morning where they receive a cold soak for up to a week before being fermented in open top concrete fermenters with four hourly punch downs of the cap. A post ferment maceration of up to eight days ensues, totaling three weeks of skin contact. The wines are pressed using a traditional basket press and are barrel matured for 12 months in 35% to 50% new barrels, with the rest in second and third fill barrels. Medium toast Allier barrels are used throughout, apart from a very small percentage of American oak on the Shiraz.
Lynx Estate lies on the banks of the Wemmershoek River and is surrounded by spectacular views of the Simonsberg and Klein Drakenstein Mountains. The valley enjoys cool winters and hot summers which are moderated by the river. The combination of drip irrigation and well drained sandy soils means growth can be regulated depending on the development phases throughout the season. The name Lynx came about when Dieter was desperately looking for a name for his new label. The workers came running to Dieter to tell him they had finally seen the lynx that occasionally visits the farm. Being a shy, mainly nocturnal animal, only its tracks had been seen previously.
In the years since Lynx Estate was established, the wines earned a reputation for quality and consistency, and yet there is still the feeling of things being done on a small scale. Total production is about 8,000 cases, 40% of which is comprised of the Blanc de Noir, a Rosé wine made from Merlot which has become a huge seller for them.
In 2018 founder Dieter Sellmeyer finally decided it was time to retire and he sold the farm to German businessman Manuel Konen. Manuel runs a successful recruiting business for the hospitality industry which has branches in Europe and Asia. Manuel is a long time wine enthusiast with many years in hospitality, a keen eye for business and a passion for all things food and wine. The change in ownership also resulted in a promotion for longtime winemaker Helgard, who is now the Managing Director. With a team of dedicated, long term people running the show, Lynx Estate seems committed to making continual small improvements in the pursuit of excellence.