Le Riche winery is located outside of Stellenbosch and for more than 10 years, Etienne Le Riche has been producing his extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignons here. The wines from Le Riche are always one of the highlights of the yearly auction of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG).
The earliest historical traces of the Le Riche family surname in South Africa date back to 1698, when Lodewyk le Riche and his family left Thimarais in Normandy to journey to South Africa in search of a new life. By the 1900s, their link to nature was firmly established, with some of the earlier le Riche family members being instrumental in establishing what would eventually become known as the Kgalagadi National Park.
It was not until the late 1970s that the Le Riche dedication to winemaking would become synonymous with the surname.
Le Riche founder, Etienne le Riche, started his career in the mid-70’s and was soon recognized as one of South Africa’s best Cabernet Sauvignon producers. By 1982 he had created some of the most sought-after wines in the country and jointly founded the Cape Winemakers Guild. It was however his dream to own his own winery that led him to establish Le Riche in 1996.
By 2010, Etienne had been joined by his children, Yvonne and Christo, to assist in the growing business. One of their first tasks was identifying a new home for Le Riche wines, which eventually became their own property in the lower Helderberg region where the cellar is based today.
With the freedom to build their cellar from scratch, the winery design was influenced by the previous cellar in Jonkershoek, ensuring consistency of wine style. With traditional open-top concrete fermentation tanks and a minimum intervention winemaking approach, the winery provides a platform to create ultra-premium red wines in a classic South African style. The first vintage from the new cellar was released in 2014.
Today, Le Riche is managed by four core members, consisting of Cellarmaster Christo le Riche, Cape Wine Master Yvonne le Riche, Commercial Manager Francois le Riche and Assistant Winemaker Mark Daniels. While founder Etienne le Riche is now retired, he still acts in an advisory role, ensuring the winery continues the pursuit of expressing the finest Cabernet possible
The core of the Le Riche winemaking ethos is to be traditionally simplistic yet innovative, “We strive to ensure that everything we do is driven by producing classic Cabernet Sauvignon that captures the detail, complexity and heritage of the Stellenbosch region.”
Their winemaking philosophy starts where all great winemaking should: in the vineyard.
They prefer to approach each block individually, placing great effort and knowledge into specifics such as soil health, canopy management, vineyard row selection, pruning and the timing of harvest.
“Focus on one thing and do it to the best of your ability” has always been Etienne’s winemaking mantra. Cabernet Sauvignon is his life’s work, and his signature Stellenbosch Cabernet developed a deserved and enviable cult following. This steadfast pursuit and commitment have been passed down to the next generation, the future of Le Riche wines.
The South African wines from Le Riche.