The Retief family has been making wine since they bought the farm in 1937, warmly welcoming visitors to the farm house and tasting rondavel. In those years, they made sweet wines and wine for brandy. Jean Retief, a traditionalist, persuaded her husband, Hennie Sr., to name their farm Van Loveren because of her ancestral connection.
In 1699 Christina van Loveren left Holland by ship with her husband, Willem van Zyl, with the hope of a new beginning in South Africa. With her she brought her bridal ‘trousseau’ chest, which was passed down the generations and inherited by her descendant, Jean Retief . Today this chest is proudly displayed in our tasting room.
In the 60s, Wynand and Nico Retief, the sons of Hennie Sr. and Jean Retief, started making wine for wholesale. It was around this time that other farmers in the Robertson valley started bottling their own wine. This led the Retief family to start bottling their own wine. A major milestone was reached in 1980, with the birth of the Van Loveren brand. Under this brand the first 500 cases of Premier Grand Cru were bottled. It took a whole year to sell all 500 cases!
From the start, visitors were introduced to the genuine hospitality that can still be felt today. The first tasting room was a rondavel, which was converted from a milk shed. When visitors came to call, a member of the family would come out for a wine tasting and a chat.
In 1986, the Retief brothers entered the trade, selling Van Loveren wine in retail. They were warned that if they continued selling their own wine, wholesalers would stop buying from them. In the tasting room rondavel, Wynand and Nico had to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives: whether they would succumb to the pressure and stop the Van Loveren label, or take the risk with their own brand. Over a bottle or two of Blanc De Blanc, the Retief brothers decided to take the plunge.
The story of the third generation of the Retief winemakers began in the 1990s. Wynand’s sons, Phillip and Neil, and Nico’s sons, Bussell and Hennie, joined the family farm after completing their studies. In 2000, the four cousins introduced the Four Cousins range of wines, which today is South Africa’s biggest selling bottled wine brand. Today they are the driving force behind the company.
Built on three generations of proudly South African entrepreneurial spirit and genuine hospitality, Van Loveren has become South Africa’s foremost family-owned and operated wine business with an incredible variety of quality offerings. The family farm has become a world-class wine tourism destination.