Honouring a career spanning over 40 years, May de Lencquesaing, ‘Grande Dame’ of Glenelly Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 International Wine Challenge (IWC) Awards in London.
Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing is a member of one of Bordeaux’s oldest wine families, the Miailhe, who owned the famous Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, as well as several other great Bordeaux châteaux. May’s pursuit of excellence at Château Pichon Lalande over 30 years saw the wines being elevated to some of the best in the world and led to her being awarded Decanter Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1994, among several other prestigious accolades. In 2007 she sold the Château to Champagne Louis Roederer in order to concentrate on her new wine estate in South Africa.
In 2003, at the age of 78, May had bought Glenelly estate in Stellenbosch because she firmly believed in South Africa’s soil, microclimate and potential for quality wines. She replanted the former fruit farm to pristine vineyards, built a state-of-the-art winery, a tasting centre, a museum for her glass collection and a farm school, and began producing a highly-acclaimed range of wines. 14 years later, together with her grandsons, May has continued to take Glenelly forward. After closing to the public for extensive renovations, Glenelly re-opened a year ago as a world-class winelands destination, including a bistro, a new tasting room with spectacular views, a stylish new presentation of May’s glass collection, and a refreshed wine brand.
Tim Atkin, MW and co-chairman of the IWC, paid tribute to May at the Awards ceremony,
“The winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award today is often described as ‘formidable’, both in English and French. Now into her tenth decade, with ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren to match, she remains a considerable force of nature… Anyone who has been lucky enough to drink a bottle of the legendary 1982 Pichon Lalande and to see the foundations she laid at the Château will recognise what she achieved in Bordeaux; anyone who has tasted recent vintages of her Glenelly Lady May red will recognise what she has achieved in South Africa. Few people make such a mark on two continents.”
Watch the IWC video featuring the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, speeches and interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20sK2ePmdEo