The Marais family trace their roots centuries back to the marshy region called Le Marais, which is now the hip suburb of restaurants and upscale museums in Paris, France. They came to the Cape of Good Hope like the Huguenots generations before and settled in the Slanghoek Valley in the middle of the Cape Winelands in 1847. The Marais’s eventually emerged as landowners on Breëland farm, which expanded from livestock to cash crops and fruit groves. The Apple House remains as a legacy of the cider they made with their main produce.
In the late 19th century, the family ventured into viticulture, but it was only after the Great War and the wine shortage in Europe that the vineyards became the primary source of income. They established a cellar for bulk wine production and the family’s commitment to winemaking deepened at the end of the Second World War, when they donated land for the Slanghoek Wine Cellar cooperative.
Today Marais Family Wines is run by Owner and CEO Lizelle Marais. Winemaker Wickus Erasmus has been with the estate since 2008, and Lizelle’s sons are involved as well. The eldest son Daniël is the farm manager and George is mastering the finer details of the craft at the famous Elsenburg Agricultural College. Lizelle has gone to great lengths to establish the estate’s garden and tree lanes, and Breëland has become a destination for special events and private functions. In 2021 parts of the old cement cellar were refurbished into a charming tasting room and meeting area and a state-of-the-art French oak wine barrel cellar was added.
The Marais family settled in the Slanghoek Valley in 1847.
With her 2 sons (Daniël & George) and daughter (Megan).
MARAIS FAMILY WINES
Marais Family Wines and the eight generations that established the now flourishing enterprise experienced their fair share of struggle and sorrow, during which three indomitable women stepped forward to leave their indelible mark on the Slanghoek Valley.
The Marais legacy began with Jacobus Daniël (Koos) Marais, a visionary patriarch, and with his death, his wife, Baby, took charge. Known for her resilience, she had three daughters, Ebith, Cora, and Caesary. Cora too was a formidable farmer, and joined her mother in running the farm, and eventually the baton was passed for her to carry on her own.
By the time of Baby’s death the farm had been divided up among the three sisters. After Cora’s death her son Jacobus Daniël (Kosie) bought the other two-thirds in 2005, proceeding to transform the reintegrated farm into one of the most renowned in the Slanghoek Valley. Breëland became a testament to dedication and passion for winemaking. Kosie tragically died in 2017 at the age of 46, leaving a void that seemed insurmountable. However, the female resilience that runs so strongly in the Marais lineage meant that his wife, Lizelle, took the bull by the horns and turned an already flourishing enterprise into an even greater success.
As CEO of the newly formed Marais Family Wines she expanded the Breëland cellar to double its capacity, and then refurbished the old cellars. The new Tasting Room took pride of place in the new complex that also had a new state-of-the-art French oak wine barrel cellar added. Today, as part of the eighth generation, Lizelle Marais is carrying the torch in not only preserving the rich heritage of Marais Family Wines but propelling it to new heights of excellence.
MARAIS FAMILY WINES
GENERAL MANAGER / WINEMAKER
ADMINISTRATIVE & FINANCIAL SECRETARY
Willem van Heerden
TASTING ROOM MANAGER
Deon du Plooy
A blend of modern aesthetics and rustic charm offers a warm and inviting atmosphere for wine enthusiasts to savour the rich flavours of Marais wines. Operating hours have been thoughtfully designed to accommodate both early risers and those seeking a late afternoon escape during the week.
TASTING ROOM HOURS
Monday - Friday
08:00 - 17:00
Saturday & Sunday
10:00 - 15:00
MARAIS FAMILY WINES
Surrounded by mountains with effervescent streams and vineyards running down the slopes, we offer self-catering accommodation with mountain bike trails and breathtaking hiking opportunities. The gardens and lawns leading to the dam provide the perfect setting for enjoying vistas to remember, all while overlooking the unique pictures painted by the Slanghoek Mountain in the background.
We invite you to experience the beauty of our estate, where tradition meets modern luxury, and every visit becomes a journey through time and nature.
“It took time to perfect the art, but all good things take time.” – Wickus Erasmus
Our winemaking team, which has been steadfastly led by veteran winemaker Wickus Eramus since 2008, selects only the best grapes to create our superb wines. With a limited volume produced every season, a bottle of Breëland is a collector’s item, and destined only for the fortunate few.
Kosie Marais bottled the first Breëland red in 2005 and called it Chandelier. This milestone has been captured by naming the meeting room, available for private use, in the main complex the Chandelier Room. Since then Breëland’s range has expanded to cultivars such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Perle Moscato, Vin Doux, Hanepoot and Chardonnay.