On her recent trip South Africa, our co-founder Adrienne Gray was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit the incredible Holden Manz Wine Estate, makers of two of our most popular wines so far, Holden Manz Visionaire 2013 and Holden Manz Chenin Blanc 2017.



The beautiful 22-hectare Holden Manz Wine Estate is located in Franschhoek on South Africa’s Western Cape, known for its centuries-old vineyards, Cape Dutch architecture, flowers and wildlife of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. Not just a vineyard, it also consists of a 5-Star hotel, spa, restaurant and wedding venue.



The Estate

The Holden Manz Wine Estate is located in the southern corner of the Franschhoek Valley which we refer to locally as Bo Hoek. Gerard Holden and Migo Manz bought the property in 2010 and invested in the vineyard and cellar, leading to a complete transformation with the aim of creating a small, but premium winery.


Passionate about his wine and the Holden Manz estate, Gerard runs the vineyard and takes a very hands-on approach.  He works closely with winemaker Thierry Haberer to achieve the final blend and choose the barrels for each wine.  Holden Manz wines (especially the reds) are big and bold, just like Gerard, who also has a wine named after him – “Big G” – his nickname from school!



The Winemaker

Winemaker Thierry Haberer has been making wine around the world for more than a decade, with a love of wine-making stemming from his grandfather, originally a vine grower in Morocco, who later became a producer in Corsica, where Thierry’s father still makes wine today!


“Growing up, I was continuously exposed to great wines, visiting remarkable vineyards and tasting its creations,” says Thierry, “but my passion for wine making grew slowly until it became an obvious course that I was destined to follow.”


The winery features state of the art design and produces around 100 tonnes of manually harvested, high quality grapes every year. Their ethos is all about attention to detail, simplicity and quality, taking care of every part of the process in the one location – minimising handling and shock on the wines so they arrive in the glass in premium condition.



“I am very respectful of the grapes,” says Thierry, who works alongside winemaker, Annamarie Fourie (pictured). “I love walking the vineyard and trying to understand how a block works. Everyone is of the belief that the vineyard is where everything begins, and it is true, to me the essence is in selecting and marking the difference in the vineyard! Your work in the cellar becomes very simple when you understand your vineyard.”


Holden Manz is an exclusive grower of red grapes, the Estate only cultivates its top 16 hectares under vineyards, notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot. Long, cold and wet winters allow the vines to rest well, while hot dry summers and a gentle autumn allows for slow ripening.


“Our wines are made in small quantities,” says Gerard.  “For example, for our Chenin Blanc, our total production was 2,000 cases; and approximately 10% comes to the UK, so we can only work with a few retailers and handful of restaurants and look for like-minded partners with whom we can build strong relationships.”



The Relationship

We were lucky enough to have been introduced to Holden Manz wines by our expert wine partner, Hennings, who hosted all our tasting sessions and personally facilitated our visit to the winery.  They knew we would be a great match, and recognised the values we share with Holden Manz in terms of striving to build a business that revolves around strong relationships, top quality food and drink and giving our customers an unforgettable experience.


“We recognise how hard it is to carve your niche in a very crowded and competitive market and success only comes with attention to detail,” says Gerard. “We could see the team at The Bull would move heaven and earth to give their customers a memorable experience.  We definitely wanted to be part of this amazing project and having followed the development of The Bull, we cannot think of a better partner and friendlier place to be serving our wines. We are proud to be part of their Wine List”.


Holden Manz Visionaire 2013 – A visionary blend!

Spicy Bordeaux style red with homage to Hermitage.  Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate this multi-award-winning wine, with a supporting cast of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, spiced up with a decent serving of Syrah! A ‘fluid’ Bordeaux blend (it’s got some Syrah in it) that is absolutely belting – spice, red fruits, dark fruits and graphite – this is seriously grown-up stuff.


Holden Manz Chenin Blanc 2017

Medium bodied and well-balanced, this elegant and perfumed with jasmine and peach. This has spent a bit of time in oak, so it has some great depth to it along with quince and melon flavours. Perfect with beetroot, goats cheese and smoked fish – not necessarily at the same time though 😉


“We are really proud of our small piece of paradise here in the Franschhoek Valley,” said Gerard, “and it was a pleasure to show Adrienne around the vineyard, cellar and of course enjoy tasting the Holden Manz wines.  If customers of The Bull are visiting the Cape, they will find a warm welcome awaits.”


Find our full wine list here.