Vergenoegd Löw: A Rich History

9 December 2023

Vergenoegd Löw dates back to 1696, when land was formally granted to a Dutch vrijburgher, Pieter de Vos. He named it Vergenoegd (meaning ‘contentment’), but the farm sadly failed to prosper. In 1700, ownership was transferred to Ferdinandus Appel, a Cape-born vrijburgher who was a leader in the rebellion against corrupt Cape governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel. By the time of Appel’s death in 1713, Vergenoegd was a well-developed farm with a homestead, various outbuildings –including slave quarters (accommodating 10 slaves) – and 18,000 vines.

1697 Tax Roll Showing Pieter de Vos 11000 Vines

1697 Tax Roll Showing Pieter de Vos 11000 Vines

In 1740, Vergenoegd was acquired by Johannes Colijn, who had married Appel’s daughter, Johanna, in 1724. Colijn was the son of Bastiaan Colijn, originally from the Netherlands, and Swart (Black) Maria Everts, an extraordinarily wealthy woman of West African slave descent. Largely written out of South African wine history during the apartheid era, no doubt because of his mixed-race origins, Johannes Colijn was in fact the Cape’s pre-eminent winemaker at the time. From 1718, he had owned the Hoop op Constantia sub-division of Simon van der Stel’s original Constantia estate. His sweet Constantia wines were already internationally famous.

Although Colijn died in 1743, his widow, Johanna Appel, and her second husband, Lambert Myburgh, continued to produce Constantia wines, while also farming at Vergenoegd. Archaeologists believe Vergenoegd’s core cellar buildings date from this era. In-depth archival research suggests that any wine produced at Vergenoegd during this time, was very likely being declared and exported as “Constantia Wine”, possibly even with official sanction.

The 1701 baptism record of Johanna Appel, Johannes Colijn’s wife, who grew up at Vergenoegd.

In 1772, Johanna Appel sold Vergenoegd to her son, Johannes Nicolaas Colijn. He built the new showcase homestead in 1773 and sold Vergenoegd in 1782 for five times the price he had paid a decade previously. Over the next 38 years, Vergenoegd had four successive owners: Johan Georg Lochner (a German tailor/wagoner), Gerhardus Munnik (from one of the Cape’s early “gentrya” families), the Swede Zacharius Blomerus, and the Irishman William Proctor, who bred racehorses.

Then, in 1820, Vergenoegd came into the possession of the Faure family, who would own it for six generations, spanning almost two centuries. Descended from French Huguenots, the Faures practised mixed farming from cows, racehorses, ostriches and Angora goats to fruit, vegetables and dairy products. During the pre-phylloxera years, Johannes Albertus Faure’s wine crop was frequently recorded as the largest in the Stellenbosch district. After a cure for phylloxera was found, his son, Jacobus Christiaan “Kosie” Faure, replanted the vineyards and established a long-standing relationship with the Ko-operatiewe Wijnbouwers Vereniging (KWV).

4th gen John Faure in the Cellar

Fourth-generation owner John Faure (1900 – 1967) in his ‘modernised’ wine cellar.

Over most of the 20th century, virtually Vergenoegd’s entire production went to KWV. The award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon that fifth-generation owners Jac and Brand Faure started estate-bottling in 1972, was recognised for decades as “one of the best reds in the country”.

It was this proud reputation for superb red wines as well as the estate’s exceptionally rich heritage, that inspired German businessman, philanthropist and historian Peter Löw to purchase Vergenoegd in 2015, giving it his own name and ushering in a new era of excellence.