The story behind Brenaissance Wine and Stud Estate is one for the romantics at heart. When owner Tom Breytenbach decided to ask his wife Hayley’s hand in marriage, little did he know that his proposal will be as life changing. Instead of spending a fortune on venue hire for the special occasion, the couple decided to rather invest the money and build their own wedding chapel on the Stellenbosch farm they purchased in 2011.
Tom’s financial background and Hayley’s eye for style clearly paid off. Today Brenaissance presents all the answers to a wedding venue. The chapel can accommodate 200 guests and the magnificent ballroom can host 250 people with ease.
The winelands setting offers stunning photo opportunities and the venue even boosts a indoor photo studio. Luxury accommodation is available for up to 18 people and Café Blanc de Noir serves scrumptious pizza with your choice of either wine or Stellenbrau.
In addition to some 30ha of vineyard on the 116ha property, the couple also farm plums for export and have started to breed Boran cattle.
Brenaissance is unlike any wine estate in South Africa. Not one, but five winemakers are responsible for the seven wines under the estate’s label. The Breytenbachs might not come from a winemaking background but they’ve conducted extensive research before undertaking this life changing challenge. The couple visited many wine producers, locally and abroad, to find out exactly what style of wines they prefer and developed the Brenaissance range accordingly.
The winemakers were selected according their particular strengths. Longridge winemaker, Jasper Raats, created the two white wines in the range. The Lady H Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is named after Hayley and the Knight of White Chardonnay 2010 represents Tom.
Charl Coetzee, winemaker at Babylons Toren, created the Jack of Diamonds Shiraz 2009 while still employed by neighboring farm Clos Marverne. His wife Suzaan will continue to produce the wine in the future.
Lord T is a non vintage red blend which Tom blended himself. It might be the most affordable wine among the reds at R78 a bottle but over-delivers on taste. Billy Marklew of Marklew Family Wines made the Queen of Hearts Merlot 2010, which retails for R138 a bottle and assisted Eikendal’s Nico Grobler with the Bordeaux-style red blend Full House 2010, priced at R148. Nico also produced the King of Clubs Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, retailing at R168.
For now the wines are only available directly from the farm and Tom intents to keep production small and the wines exclusive.
Out of the seven wines the Knight of White Chardonnay impressed the most. As in the case of the owners, I’m a big lover of Chardonnay myself and the style of this wine brings justice to the grape.
The Breytenbachs might be new to the wine industry but their business and entrepreneurial skills combined with their passion and honesty make this couple unstoppable and hungry for success in the new life they’ve created for themselves. Wine might be their biggest passion but clever thinking and a sense for business made them look at all the possibilities the property has to offer. The Boran cattle alone can keep this boat afloat and I suspect Tom was right in saying that the wedding might have been an expensive investment, but it was the best investment of his life.