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Riebeeck Jan

The Dutch ship doctor and merchant Jan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck (1619-1677) landed on behalf of the Dutch East India Trade Company on April 6, 1652 in the bay at the foot of Table Mountain and founded a colony, the present South Africa, His assignment was to build a supply station on the way to India. For protection, first the "Fort de Goede Hoop" was built, from which the name of the Cape of Good Hope was derived. Then you started to grow fruits and vegetables. Incidentally, Riebeeck was involved in combating the dreaded Mariner disease scurvy and trying to develop a cure. In the same year he wrote a letter to his home and asked for vines. The reason was that at that time wine was considered an effective means of preventing scurvy. The cuttings from Germany (from the Rhine) arrived in South Africa in 1654 and were sewn into small packets of damp canvas. But the first attempt of a South African winegrowing failed, because the vines had taken root early in the damp cloth and were spoiled.

One year later he received a cuttings assortment from the countries of Bohemia, France, Spain and Germany. With this succeeded the first production of South African wine, a very modest amount of 15 liters. On 2 February 1659 Riebeeck noted in his diary, "that today, thank God, for the first time wine was pressed from Cape grapes" . With some certainty, the first vines from which wine was produced were those of the variety Muscat Blanc (from France). But the varieties Muscat d'Alexandrie (here Hanepoot) and Chenin Blanc (here Steen) were already on the first shipment from Europe. But neither Riebeeck nor the Free Burghers knew much about viticulture and did not succeed in producing good quality wines. This succeeded only the second governor Simon van der Stel (1639-1712), who named this after Stellenbosch and in 1685 the famous winery Constantia founded.

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