Canetsfontein is believed to have become cultivated around 1720. It was named Kanette Fontein at the time, meaning “bamboo stream” – after the huge wild bamboo canes that still line the Leeuwentuin River on the estate.
The oldest known records, however, date to 1781, when the farm was transferred to Jacobus Pienaar as an inheritance from his father, Louis, who owned the neighbouring farm, Leeuwentuin.
Canetsfontein then measured “12 morgen and 300 vierkante roeden” (about 10 ha).
When Jacobus Pienaar moved to Graaff-Reinet in 1799, he sold the farm to his brother in law, Isak van der Merwe, who in 1806 also acquired Leeuwentuin.
In 1814 Isak van der Merwe sold Canetsfontein to Joachim Johannes Kruger in order to concentrate on the farming of Leeuwentuin.
The next owner, Anna Lategan, also owner of Rustenberg, bequeathed Canetsfontein to her godson Benjamin Godlieb Heydenrych, who converted the farm into leasehold and sold it to the owner of the neighbouring farm, Nabygelegen, Carel Petrus van der Merwe.
Through marriage of his daughter, ownership moved to the Retief family, who then owned the farm for around 100 years. The Retief family still owns the neighbouring farm, Welvanpas, but sold Canetsfontein in the mid-20th century.
Canetsfontein was run in the 1970s and 80s as a fruit and chicken farm. After years of agricultural neglect, it was used in the 90s as a country residence without any noteworthy farming operations.
When the Falk family acquired it in 1994, the farm underwent a full redevelopment, including the replanting of all vineyards and renovation of the historic main house. The aim is to become one of the best quality Merlot producers in the country.
The 2017 Merlot recently won a Gold medal at the 2020 London wine competition & the award for the “Best Wine per Country” category.
In the years that followed, Canetsfontein was consolidated through acquisitions of neighbouring land and farms to its current size of 650 ha.
The farm under management is currently also focussing on vegetable gardening, olives, fruit, events, weddings, conferences, extreme mountain biking and hiking. Again showing the diversity of this family farm.