THE STORY OF HIGHGATE
In 1996 the Kassier family purchased Highgate farm – what was then, a small 1ha hydroponic vegetable farm in the misty hills of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Midlands.
Initially, the small business served to supply local guest houses, coffee shops, hotels, and markets with fresh produce. The business grew to supply major supermarket chains throughout KZN.
By growing all the vegetables on the farm, the concept of the Piggly Wiggly Farm Stall was born. Under the large tree at the entrance of Piggly Wiggly, started with a few hay bales, offcut pine and tin roof, the Farm Stall successfully supplied local passers-by with fresh produce, home-baked bread, select goods, and craft dairy products.
Its beginnings were humble: no more than a tractor-drawn trailer packed daily with fresh produce and sold meters away from the earthy source. The concept was modest and charming, naturally growing to the point of becoming a meeting and shopping destination for patrons from near and wide.
As the demand grew, so did the farm. Rudi and Cindy, the owners, used this opportunity to fuel their own passionate love of food and wine to share more local produce with their community and visiting patrons. Piggly Wiggly has now become a household name locally and abroad. In 2004 Rudi paired up with the local Cedara Agricultural College to research whether producing wine locally in KZN would be feasible…and so the first block of vineyards were planted consisting of 26 different cultivars. Today, more than a decade later, the farm now boasts a five-hectare vineyard producing ten certified wines, including the first Chardonnay to be certified in 2010 within the Kwa-Zulu Natal region.
Between 2010 and 2015, the family produced wine as an interest rather than for commercial purposes. In 2016 Thornton Pillay, a Wine Maker and Viticulturist from Stellenbosch, joined Highgate and the winemaking process launched into the commercial sphere. Thornton worked at Ernie els wines, Groot Constantia, KWV, and in France (Burgundy), bringing exceptional skill and experience – helping grow the farm to a fully functioning wine estate. As demand and interest grew, the opportunity arose to build a Tasting Room for showcasing and presenting the premium wines crafted.
In 2016, the first commercially produced wines totalling 1500 bottles. Highgate Wine Estate now produces 17 000 bottles per annum, and it is our goal to increase our Vineyards over the next few years.
Between 2017 and 2018 the current fully-fledged Cellar was constructed. During this time Rudi’s daughter, Cathryn Kassier, had finished her studies in Stellenbosch, and spent some time working at Ernie Els Wines. Rather unexpectedly, and incredibly romantically, this is where she met her now-husband Tom Herselman, who had also completed his studies in Stellenbosch and was a manager at Ernie Els Wines. From this romance, the TOMCAT wine was born.
This journey of thoughtfully produced food and wine is now shared with all through the farm’s elegant tasting room, various restaurants, and a variety of retail outlets at Piggly Wiggly.
THE RESIDENTIAL ESTATE
Highgate Residential Estate is situated on the same farm as Highgate Wine Estate and Piggly Wiggly. Perfect for anyone who loves the countryside. Imagine being surrounded by rolling hills and high-mountains in the distance, stunning views and sunsets, this secure and accessible estate offers not just a taste of the midlands – but the true feeling of country living.
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