Plaisir de Merle

The beautiful Plaisir Wine Estate is situated at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain between Paarl and Franschhoek. The wines produced here are inspired by the harmony of a rich history, the fertile soil and lush vineyards. Our quest in making exceptional wines would have found favour with Huguenot founder, Charles Marais.

Jacob Marais, grandson of Charles Marais, built the manor house in 1764, where it remains today as one of the earliest and finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture. With its ornate gables and thatched roof the Manor House is a fine example of splendour and history. The interior features an elegant and eclectic rendition of old and new with a selection of furniture in the Cape, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, ball-and-claw and retro style. The end result is a conscious move away from grandeur towards unaffected sincerity with classical refinement. Charles Marais was one of only a handful of Frenchmen who had experience in winemaking when he arrived at the Cape and his vinous legacy lives on in Plaisir de Merle’s winemaking tradition. The farm prospered and in 1705, Claude Marais (who took over the management of the farm after his father’s passing) declared 8000 vines and 6 leaguers of wine.

The estate is rife with symbolic elements that tell the story of craft, hardship, family and endurance. At the cellar’s entrance the frieze (or blazon) created by artist Jan Corewijn in 1993, pays tribute to early pioneers by visually portraying their life and passion. The griffin or gryphon forms an important part of Plaisir’s logo, and also appears in the form of stylised gargoyle-like waterspouts on the corners of the cellars. Half lion and half eagle, the majestic Gryphon is the king of both beasts and birds with the vision of the eagle and the strength and courage of the lion. Recognised for its power and intelligence, the Gryphon is said to be the guardian of treasures.