The History of Hamilton-Russel Vineyards

Hermanus History Society

We are pleased to welcome another guest speaker at one of our monthly members meetings. He is Antony Hamilton-Russell, owner of Hamilton-Russell Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Anthony was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1962.  He is married to Olive and has four daughters.  After schooling in Johannesburg and Cape Town, he completed a BSc in Biological Sciences at Wits University (Johannesburg), followed by an MA in Geography at Oxford University. In 1991, with the likelihood of positive political change in South Africa, Anthony returned to take over the family farm, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, which he subsequently purchased from the family in 1994.  He focused this property on Pinot noir and Chardonnay alone and has devoted the last 20 years to building an international reputation for these two Estate grown wines as being among the most classically styled examples from the New World.  .

Anthony is known to be a passionate advocate of expressing origin – and soil structure in particular – in wines and of aiming for more “classic” styling.  He is also a strong believer in the importance of developing a clearer wine style identity for South Africa’s top appellations.

Antony’s talk will cover the geological history of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and explain what has made it a special place to produce Pinot noir and Chardonnay. He will also touch on the human pre-history of the area.   He will then explain how the first vineyards were started here, how they developed, and where the area stands in terms of wine production today.