The story
of Warwick Estate

Our History | Norma Ratcliffe | The Wedding Cup

The story
of Warwick Estate

Our History
Norma Ratcliffe
The Wedding Cup

Warwick Estate is a high-end South African winery in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. The estate has a rich farming history dating back to 1771.

Then a fruit farm, Warwick only emerged on the forefront of South Africa’s wine scene when Stan and Norma Ratcliffe bought the estate in 1964 and started developing the land with an extensive focus on the classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Through determination and commitment, Norma Ratcliffe became one of the Cape’s first female winemakers – and one of its most illustrious wine personalities, whose legacy is immortalised in the Warwick “First Lady” range.

The first wine under the Warwick label was released in 1984, then named “La Femme Bleu” – “Blue Lady” as it is known today. Two years later, in 1986, the Warwick Trilogy – a three varietal Bordeaux-style blend – was released and has since been recognised as a truly iconic wine, with multiple vintages adorning some of the greatest wine lists in the world. Throughout the years, Warwick’s wines have won many awards, firmly establishing the brand as a South African icon.

The ultimate wedding gift.

The legend of the Warwick Wedding Cup revolves around the beautiful Princess Kunigunde. She was the beloved daughter of the King and Queen of old Nuremberg, whose hand had been promised in marriage to a Prince from a faraway kingdom.

Princess Kunigunde fell in love with a young, handsome and ambitious Silversmith. Although Kunigunde’s father did not approve of their love, it was clear that she only wanted the Silversmith to be her husband.

The King became so enraged that he had the young Silversmith thrown into the deepest darkest dungeon. Not even his daughter’s bitter tears would change her father’s mind.

To her father’s dismay, imprisoning the young man did not end his daughter’s love for the Silversmith. Instead, he could only watch as his daughter grew paler and paler as a result of the separation from her true love. The King and Queen reluctantly made the following proposal: He told his daughter, “If your Silversmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride”.

Of course he was certain nobody could perform such a task.

Inspired by love and with skillful hands, the young Silversmith created a masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love’s. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms held a chalice that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards another.

The challenge was met. The Silversmith and the Princess joined hands in marriage and with the bridal cup set forth a romantic and memorable tradition as charming today as it was originally hundreds of years ago. To this day and to many couples the chalice remains a symbol of their love.

Happiness and good fortune await the couple who drink from this cup.

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