When Jeremy’s parents, Eddie and Betty Walker, emigrated from England to Cape Town in 1952 they settled in the coastal village of Camps Bay. After 21 years, they then moved to the Stellenbosch countryside and purchased a small farm called Boplaas on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain.
The family renamed the property Grangehurst after their childhood homes – “The Grange”, Betty’s childhood home in Birmingham – and “Hurst Close”, the street in London where Eddie grew up. Coincidentally, “grange” means “a country house with farm buildings” and “hurst” means “on a hill”, making Grangehurst a very apt name for the family’s new home.
During Jeremy’s final year at school, Eddie suggested he consider a career in the wine industry. Wanting to do “something different” after a stint in the SA Navy, Jeremy enrolled at Stellenbosch University to study Viticulture and Oenology, and graduated there in 1977.
During a hiatus from winemaking, Jeremy completed an MBA at the University of Cape Town in 1980, and returned to winemaking six years later when he helped establish a wine cellar at Clos Malverne, also in Devon Valley.
After six vintages at Clos Malverne, Jeremy set up his own winery at Grangehurst in 1992. Although his family property was too small to be a viable farm, it was perfectly situated for the establishment of a winery as it was surrounded by prime Stellenbosch vineyards.
Jeremy annexed the former squash court at Grangehurst and turned it into a cellar. Here he crushed premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Merlot grapes that were sourced from neighbouring vineyards.
The first vintage produced at Grangehurst was crowned Champion Wine at the South African Young Wine Show – a dream start for this small red wine cellar.
In 1996, Jeremy was invited to join the Cape Winemaker’s Guild, an association of innovative winemakers who are recognised as having played a significant role in the development of the South African wine industry.
In 2000, he invested in a 13ha Stellenbosch property with ophthalmologist, Dr. John Hill and planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines in 2002. What started as a “commercial hobby” soon developed into a successful wine business. In 2004, Dr. John Hill, co-owner of Sunset Vineyards, joined Jeremy as a business partner in Grangehurst Winery. It’s a partnership that continues to this day.