The estate was established by David Manley Jordan, who had farmed in the Free State, spent fifteen years on a sailing yacht, and then decided, with his wife Esther, to settle in Tulbagh, where they purchased Hunter’s Retreat in June 1996. David farmed with dairy cows, sheep and later a few horses, while Esther ran the small guest house. Within a few years, they had upgraded the guest house facilities, built a dam and started planting vines. The first two crops were harvested and sold to three private cellars, after which David decided to build his own cellar and make his own wine. The existing dairy and stables were converted into a barrel maturation cellar and a fermentation room was added on, and Manley Private Cellar is now a registered, award-winning wine estate.
In 2008, a London based South African, David Ovenden, on a visit to Tulbagh, loved Hunter’s Retreat so much that he took a majority stake in the farm, renaming it ‘Manley’ after David Jordan’s great wines. And shortly thereafter, with a small group of friends, took full control and expanded the business, and started to build the distribution of the wines.
Today most of the output is sold overseas, shipping largely to the UK but also to many other countries, in Europe and elsewhere.
Tulbagh and The surrounding region
The town of Tulbagh is situated at the northern end of the basin surrounded by the Obiqua Mountains to the west, the Witzenberg Mountains to the east, and the Winterhoek Mountains to the north, with the highest peak reaching over two thousand meters above sea level.
The region experiences a Mediterranean climate, and the vegetation is fynbos, which is known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity. Many magnificent species of protea are to be found throughout the valley and in the mountains.
The Tulbagh basin had been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Bushmen and Khoi peoples when it was first discovered by European settlers in 1658. In 1700 land grants were made to fourteen Dutch and Huguenot farming families, and by the mid-1700s the area had become a prosperous farming district commonly known as Roodezand. In 1743 the Roodezand Dutch Reformed congregation was established, and its church was completed in 1749. The village which grew up about the church was formally established in 1795 and named in honour of Ryk Tulbagh, a former governor of the Cape. Tulbagh is the fourth oldest town in South Africa – after Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Swellendam.
In September 1969 the Boland area was hit by an earthquake that caused considerable damage to the town of Tulbagh. Many buildings were destroyed, but every historic home in Church Street has been painstakingly restored to its original glory. These thirty-two buildings now constitute the largest concentration of National Monuments in a single street in South Africa, and Church Street remains a major tourist attraction of the town.
Things to do in the region
As well as several interesting eateries and art & craft galleries, Church Street boasts no less than four museums, including the Oude Kerk Volksmuseum, one of the oldest museums in the Western Cape. Also well worth a visit is the Christo Coetzee Gallery, which houses classic works of the well-known and controversial South African artist Christo Coetzee, who spent the last years of his life in Tulbagh.
The TulbaghWine Route is today a well-established destination for wine tourists and includes several gracious family-owned estates which date back many generations and are iconic institutions in the wine industry.
Other exciting activities you can experience in the surrounding area include zip slide adventures, paragliding, mountain bike tours, bird watching, horse riding, and hiking. You could also visit the Welbedacht Game & Nature Reserve, and the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area, which is a World Heritage site.