Meet the Makers is a monthly feature on BLQ looking at the finest of South African wines, and introducing the winemakers responsible for them. You could win a six-bottle case of the featured wine each week!

Chardonnay. Often criticised, more often enjoyed.

Chardonnay, a hugely popular wine internationally in the 80s and 90s started to lose its popularity due the predictability and uniformity of the Chardonnays produced at the time – over-wooded, big, fat and buttery and lacking fruit and freshness. This movement away from Chardonnay came to be known as the ABC Club, standing for ’Anything But Chardonnay’. But that era is now over. Things have changed and the current Chardonnays, showing much more versatility and freshness in style,  are once again proving to be extremely popular.

Glenelly, the exemplary Stellenbosch wine estate with a French touch, produces two different styles of Chardonnay: Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2013, an elegant barrel fermented Chardonnay made in a complex mineral style with lots of lemon zest for freshness, and Glenelly Glass Collection Chardonnay 2013, unoaked, fresh and lively and packaged with a screwcap closure to preserve the fresh citrus notes.

According to Luke O’Cuinneagain, winemaker at Glenelly, “ABC can now stand for ‘Absolutely Brilliant Chardonnay’. At Glenelly we put in a lot of time and effort to preserve the fruit and freshness in our Chardonnays”.

The fruit must be the star of the show and the wood the supporting act.


The Glenelly Estate dates back to the 17th century, when, Simon van der Stel, Governor of the Cape at the time, granted the land to French Huguenot François Villion. In 1812, the estate passed to Johan Peter de Villiers, and finally in 1911 it became the property of British family, the Garlicks, who owned it for 92 years until its purchase in 2003 by Madame May de Lencquesaing.


I believe in South Africa’s soil, microclimate and potential for quality wines



Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing

Glenelly Estate in Idas Valley in Stellenbosch was purchased in 2003 by Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, a member of one of Bordeaux’s oldest wine families, the Miailhe, who owned the famous Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, Bordeaux. Why after 30 years in the wine business in France, did Madame decide to plant vines in South Africa? “I bought Glenelly because I believe in South Africa’s soil, microclimate and potential for quality wines, and I wanted to continue the French heritage of winemaking in South Africa that goes back more than three centuries. I have every confidence in this great country and its people, and wish to play a part in its economic development”, says the indomitable Madame, who recently turned 90 years of age.


The Winemaker

Luke O’Cuinneagain, with winemaking experience from Château Fieuzal (Bordeaux), Cave Dietrich (Alsace), Screaming Eagle (Napa Valley, USA), Château Angélus (Bordeaux) and five years at Rustenburg Estate, joined Glenelly as winemaker in 2007. In 2010 winemaking ‘maverick’ Adi Badenhorst joined the Glenelly team as winemaking consultant and is sharing his innovative and highly creative ideas with Luke.

BLQ-Luke_OcuinneagainLuke O’Cuinneagain


Win a case of Glenelly Chardonnay

We’ll be giving away one six-bottle case consisting of both Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2013 and Glenelly Glass Collection Chardonnay 2013 every week for the next four weeks. To stand a chance to win a case, email us and tell us which century Glenelly Estate dates back to.




Competition closes 15 November 2015 and the judges’ decision is final. The competition is not open to anyone affiliated to BLQ or its parent company. Alcohol impedes many things and generally comes with a disclaimer. Don’t drink and drive; it’s not a look… Entrants must be 18 years and older.