The Slaley name
Travel west of Newcastle upon Tyne in Northumberland, England and follow a country lane south of the Tyne Valley. Perched atop the high ground lies the village of Slaley. Following two generations of successful cargo shipping, it is here that the Hunting Family constructed Slaley Hall in 1911.
In 1952, after completing military service with the Royal Engineers stationed in Kenya, 22-year-old Martin Hunting left home, his eyes on the Cape of Good Hope. Arriving in Stellenbosch, he began educating himself in viticulture and, despite never having spoken Afrikaans, enrolled at Elsenburg Landbou Kollege. After graduating cum laude, he purchased a nearby farm located on the western slopes of the Simonsberg and changed the farm’s name from Simonsig to Slaley in honour of his heritage.
Ships; paintings and the Slaley Range label
Long before Slaley Farm was founded or Slaley Hall built; in 1874 Charles Hunting, a renowned vet and enthusiastic innovator, purchased two cargo ships and set up corporate offices at 38 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne. Thereafter, the company (today listed on the London Stock Exchange as Hunting PLC) expanded operations to include oil & gas, aviation, engineering and defence.
Over the years Slaley has commissioned 12 paintings to commemorate the Hunting business’s original focus; shipping. Displayed in the Slaley bistro, the ships are depicted as accurately as possible, on known voyages and are the inspiration for the labels of the Slaley Range.
Slaley farm origin and the Broken Stone label
Martin Hunting acquired Slaley in 1955. Whilst engaged in bush clearing on the farm’s boundary, he uncovered an unusual stone. Having re-erected the stone, an inscription reading “WCG 1751” could be observed. Consulting Stellenbosch University, it is believed that “W” stood for Weduwee (widow in Afrikaans), and “CG” the farm’s owner Christoffel Groenewald. As the farm was first established in the early 18th century, it is assumed that the “1751” inscription marked the date the stone was erected. Because the “CG” was inscribed in the center of the stone and the “W” offset far to the left and in a different font, it is held that the “W” was added some years after the original, by Christoffel Groenewald’s wife Anna who owned and managed the farm after his death.
Over the years additional stones were uncovered; intact, defaced and broken. These stones are the inspiration for Slaley’s Broken Stone label. The survivors are laid in the garden at Slaley’s bistro, wine cellar and tasting room.