By Alyson Pitarre
Delaire Graff Estate – diamond magnate Laurence Graff’s jewel in South Africa’s winemaking region – is an enchanting gem, seven years after its debut.
“I visited the estate for the first time back in 2003 and felt a strong connection in an instant – it was love at first sight.” ~ Laurence Graff
Connections, like the kind diamond jeweler Laurence Graff describes, are not exactly hard-fought when you experience the majestic qualities of South Africa’s Stellenbosch winemaking region for the first time. The craggy summits of Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein rise above you, granite plutons enveloping you in a beauty that can almost leave you breathless at times. The mountains offer not just visual inspiration in Stellenbosch. You can also taste the mountains in the wine, minerality fashioned out of the rocky soil and offshore breezes. It’s a place where Chenin Blanc (beloved winemaker Ken Forrester once called it South Africa’s “national grape”) — thrives.
The Stellenbosch valley — one of three that form the Cape Winelands — boasts the largest number of wineries of any of the Cape’s regions. So, it was no surprise when Graff, a man with a talent for discovering the world’s rarest of diamonds and gems, immediately regarded 39 acres on the Helshoogte Pass crest as his next “jewel.” He purchased the property in 2003 and spent six years building what would eventually become Delaire Graff Estate, featuring the beautiful Lodges & Spa, a five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel and ode to art, wine and South African hospitality.
Today, the David Collins-designed estate boasts some of the most incredible…