As early as 1694 farmers recognized the potential of the fertile foothills of the Simonsberg mountain. By 1793 the legendary Martin Melck had acquired most of this land and it was probably he who changed the name from the original Kleygat (Clay-hole) to Knorhoek, called in a contemporary document ‘de plaats waar de leeuwen knorren’ – the place where lions growl.

This gives one an indication of how wild the environment once was. Feline predators scaled the high kraal walls at night and preyed on domestic livestock. The Cape Mountain lion became extinct by the late 1700’s, caracal are occasionally seen on the farm and leopard sightings still occur in the higher reaches of the surrounding mountains – hence the use of the leopard on the Knorhoek Estate wine labels.

Melck’s daughter inherited Knorhoek. Her son, Jan Andries Beyers, was the first of many generations to farm here. A devastating phylloxera plague forced most farmers in the area to sell, but by an interesting quirk of fate, Knorhoek went back into the family.

In 1887 JGB van Niekerk bought a neighboring farm and chanced to marry the great-granddaughter of Beyers, the original Knorhoek patriarch. She convinced him to buy back Knorhoek, and now five generations later, the Van Niekerk’s have created a fine balance between producing excellent wines and conserving a little of the wild spirit of the past. A visit to the family cemetery behind the guesthouse makes for interesting reflection on a colourful past.

… And Present

Today the Van Niekerk brothers, Hansie and James, are part of the 5th generation to own and work this beautiful farm. Following in the footsteps of their father, Hannes, who was awarded the prestigious Smuts Trophy for his wines, they continue the long and honorable family tradition of winemaking.

James is responsible for the viticulture, Hansie for the marketing and management of Knorhoek, and Barry (James’s youngest son who is part of the 6th generation) responsible for the winemaking, resulting into many award-winning wines. Together they form a vibrant young team, passionate about wines and delighted to share their heritage with visitors and guests.


Knorhoek lies on the gentle sloping foothills of the Simonsberg Mountain with its characteristic red soils, cool breezes and favorable terroir. Knorhoek is ideally situated for growing a variety of both noble red and white cultivars. Only a select percentage of the grape production is used for labelled estate wines, ensuring exceptional quality wines that remain great value for money wherever they are enjoyed. Open daily for tasting from 10:00 – 17:00.


Savour the seclusion of this beautiful historic farm, ideally situated to explore the Stellenbosch Wine Route, surrounding towns and the Cape Peninsula. Relax in tastefully decorated en-suite rooms and cottages with crisp white linen, all required amenities, patio or balcony with garden or mountain view. Enjoy farm-style breakfasts, vineyard walks, summer pool lunches and winter log fires. There are 10 top golf courses within 30 minutes of travel. Make our guesthouse your home in Stellenbosch.


Towerbosch is set in a magical enchanting forest-like garden that will stimulate all your senses. A tranquil and child-friendly setting for lunch, conferences, private functions and beautiful wedding receptions. Enjoy South African heirloom cuisine accompanied by award winning wines from our estate. Open for lunch from 12:00 – 15:00 Monday to Sunday. Reservations are essential. Contact Towerbosch today for an unforgettable lunch experience.