Ageing Our Wines
Morgenster Lourens River Valley
Nu Series 1
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Enhanced Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Truffle Enhanced Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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Giulio Bertrand - Owner
Giulio Bertrand was born in Biella, an important wool processing and textile center in North West Piedmont in Italy. Four generations of his family had been involved in textiles so it was natural for him to join the family business after university. He owned factories in South Africa and the United States as well as in Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy. Because his yarns and fabrics were sold to fashion designers he was acknowledged as one of the leaders of Italy's fashion industry.
From 1975 Bertrand started coming to South Africa four times a year to oversee his two factories in the Eastern Cape. In 1979 his love of nature and conservation led him to buy a game farm bordering on the Kruger Park. With these South African connections he decided after his retirement to spend two months each year in the Western Cape to escape the Italian winter.
In 1992 he bought Morgenster, one of the jewels of the Cape. His first step was to restore the manor house, built in 1786, with the guidance of Cape Town-based architect Revel Fox. Then he turned his attention to the hill in his back yard which reminded him strongly of his native Piedmont. His father had gone into dairy farming on his retirement so perhaps the idea of farming was already there ...
With a lifelong philosophy of producing only the best Bertrand sought advice from experts who suggested that Morgenster's terroir was perfectly suited to red wine grape varieties and olives.
Putting retirement on hold Bertrand went to France to assess whether Morgenster could produce wines in line with the best from Bordeaux. There he was introduced to Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval Blanc. Lurton visited Morgenster and was inspired by the farm's potential to realise Bertrand's dream of producing world acclaimed Bordeaux styled blends which age well. Pierre Lurton became a consultant to the local team in establishing vineyards of Bordeaux varieties and building a cellar. He is on Morgenster's Board of Directors and each year he and his technical group consult with Morgenster's winemaking team to create the year's blends for Morgenster and Lourens River Valley label wines.
13 March 2013, coincidentally also his birthday, Bertrand was inducted into the South African chapter for the
Commanderie de Bordeaux
. This was in recognition of his dedication and attention to detail in creating Bordeaux styled wines of the highest order in South Africa and bringing the wine growing regions of France and South Africa closer together through his association with Pierre Lurton.
While it is part of Italian culture to produce fine wines and olives together the concept was an innovation in South Africa at the time. Bertrand built a long-term partnership with the Olive Oil Research Institute of Italy from which he imports the world's most up to date olive tree cultivars and production technology.
His guiding philosophy of "Where there is quality there is no compromise" resulted in Morgenster's Extra Virgin Olive Oil being judged "Best Blended Olive Oil in the world" L'Extravergine 2006 and the Morgenster mill being awarded "Mill of the year" L'Extravergine 2007. More recently, according to the
Flos Olei Guide
to the world's best extra virgin olive oils published 2010 - 2013, Morgenster is one of only seven oils in the world which has achieved consistent quality at an exceptionally high level over four years, earning 97 out of a possible 100 points each year.
Bertrand has not only created an exceptional quality extra virgin olive oil on his estate, but by supplying tens of thousands of olives trees a year to other local farms, providing equipment and farming consultancy services and bringing in international experts to run judging and oil appreciation courses, he has helped South Africa's young olive oil industry to reach the same level as long-established producer countries.
In August 2012 Giulio Bertrand was honoured by the
SA Olive Association
with a Life Time Achiever trophy for his contribution to the local olive oil industry.
Giulio Bertrand's support of local Italian business was recognised by the Italian-South African Chamber of Trade & Industries who declared him the winner of their FNB Business Excellence Award in 2010.
Always an active sportsman, Bertrand has raced Italian saloon cars and scuba dived and hunted around Africa. He regards yachting however as his most important hobby.
Bertrand has two daughters and four granddaughters.
P.O. Box 1616, Somerset West, 7129, South Africa
Map & Directions to Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate