“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread – we came down to the Cape from Johannesburg in August 1943 after my husband Bernard had been boarded out of the Air Force, and that as far as I am concerned was the beginning of a meaningful life.”
Excerpt from Our Lives at Bellingham by Fredagh Podlashuk, 1983
A golden thread of innovation, ingenuity and foresight
The story of Bellingham is a tale of courage, determination and unwavering dedication to the land and vines. It is an odyssey richly coloured by the labours of passionate vintners, both past and present.
A long, long time ago
Originally known as Bellinchamp (which translates to ‘pretty fields’), Bellingham traces its roots to 1693 when Hollander Gerrit Janz van Vuuren and his French Huguenot wife planted the first 1000 vines on the estate. It then passed from family to family until 1943, when Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk purchased the somewhat derelict farm, set about restoring the manor house, gardens and vineyards and effectively pioneered the modern renaissance of the Bellingham Estate in Franschhoek.
The Podlashuk influence
The Podlashuks realised that they needed the help of individuals with farming experience and promptly enlisted the assistance of 13 Italian POWs who helped them to replant the vineyards. Hungry for knowledge, Bernard and Fredagh travelled to France and Germany and returned resplendent with experience and initiative. They buckled down and released the Cape’s first rosé in 1949, followed in quick succession by the Premier Grand Cru in 1951 and Bellingham’s first single varietal Shiraz in 1956.
The 80s and 90s saw vineyard developments, cellar extensions and the beginning of Bellingham’s classic new world winemaking philosophy. The turn of the century inspired a shift in the Bellingham portfolio and The Maverick range was launched in 2002 – a challenge to both custom and convention.
What lies ahead
Boldly exploring new territories in the fine art of crafting wine, Bellingham has received numerous international awards and garnered far-flung acclaim. The current Bellingham generation celebrates the historic momentum that has shaped its wines through time in four chapters that tell the stories behind the gable.