Lismore Estate Vineyards
South Africa -

Tucked into the foothills of a dramatic mountain range at the bottom of Africa is Lismore Estate Vineyards. It is here, in the Greyton area, that Californian Samantha O'Keefe found paradise and the perfect terroir.

With a degree in political science and background in television, Samantha left Los Angeles for South Africa in 2000. She fell in love with a 300-hectare ranch called Riviersonderend, named for the mountain range. She purchased the ranch, built her own house, planted vines and constructed a winery. Lismore Estate Vineyards was founded in 2003, and her inaugural vintage was released in 2008. Samantha’s wines have garnered the attention of top journalists, and in 2018, she was inducted into the prestigious Cape Winemaker’s Guild in 2018, becoming the 6th woman to ever be inducted into the Guild.

samantha okeefe

Samantha’s passion, combined with vines planted at 300 meters, chilled by the winter snow and nourished by the African summer sun, produce classic cool climate wines which are rich, complex and lovingly hand crafted.

The Overberg region is rapidly earning a reputation for premium cool climate grapes. Greyton has now been designated a ward within that district, recognizing the unique terroir expression of the wine that is produced there. Lismore is the only registered wine estate in the Greyton ward.

Lismore's vineyards are planted on slopes at the base of the Riviersonderend Mountain Range. The combination of elevation and climate make for an extended ripening period which is roughly 3-4 weeks later than the more traditional wine growing areas in the Western Cape. There are a total of 12.5 ha planted with Chardonnay, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier. On the Davis Scale, the area is classified as Region 1, meaning Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Syrah and Pinot Noir are doing very well in the region and get perfect ripening conditions.

lismore home fire

In December 2019, Samantha - along with her family and her team - suffered a devastating loss, as a wildfire destroyed her home and winery. Sam sadly lost pets in the fire, but was thankful that family and staff made it out safely. Fortunately the Lismore vines were tough and many survived the fire. The South African wine and farming community has come together to support Sam and the Lismore team, and they rise from the ashes to rebuild and embark on the 2020 vintage.


Reviews and News

Lismore 'Winery to Watch' - Wine & Spirits 2020

Lismore 'Winery to Watch' - Wine & Spirits 2020

wine and spirits logo 250"In 2000, Samantha O’Keefe left Los Angeles and settled at a 750-acre ranch in Greyton, in the Overberg district of South Africa’s Cape. She planted vineyards on slopes tucked up against the Riviersonderend Mountains and has earned recognition for Greyton as a wine district. The snow-covered peaks help temper the climate, bringing in peppery syrah that O’Keefe presents in fresh and inviting wines. We tasted her latest releases a month before a wildfire destroyed her winery, home, 2019 vintage and portions of the vineyard. O’Keefe is determined to rebuild, and the wine community has stepped up to help. Taste her 2016 Syrah or her 2018 Age of Grace Viognier and you, too, may be inspired to help. - J.G."

- Wine & Spirits' 2021 Buying Guide

Lismore - Wine Advocate 2019

Lismore - Wine Advocate 2019

wa"Samantha O'Keefe of Lismore Estate is a trailblazer who is making some of South Africa's most focused, precise and thoughtful wines. If you are not familiar with Samantha or her wines, you need to seek some out and try them for yourself. South African wine may hold negative connotations in some people's minds, so I hope they try Samantha's wines, as every bottling from her range displayed elegance and beauty. Lismore wines are expressive with layers of complexity that shine and an honesty that over delivers for the price. I am anxious to see what she does next. Be on the lookout for an article on food and wine pairings with Lismore wines in 2020 and keep your eyes peeled on Lismore Estate wines for some truly great winemaking! - Anthony Mueller"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #245, October 2019)

Lismore - Wine Advocate 2015

Lismore - Wine Advocate 2015

wa300"Samantha O'Keefe is living the dream. That's not to say things have been easy for the ex-Californian on the outskirts of Greyton. You know what they say about how to make a small fortune in wine. The competition is fierce when you start out. I mean, how do you distinguish yourself from the crowd? One way is to splash lots of money on marketing. Another is to price your wine at a silly price in the hope of persuading people that it must be good. Of course, you can just make bloody good wine, which is the route that Samantha wisely took.

I still remember meeting her for the first time at a busy tasting in London. I remarked how good I thought her wines were. I felt as it was the first time her wines had been complemented, a third party validation that she was doing things the right way and it was paying off in the quality of her wines. And since then, over the last two or three years, it's been great to see both Lismore and Samantha gain more and more recognition. Her recent releases, which I tasted at the Cape Show with Samantha, continue to furrow that path of cool-climate white and reds. Perhaps in the past I have focused more on the white. On this occasion, I was blown away by her 2014 Syrah that was galvanized by the 40% whole bunch ferment, manifesting a truly complex Syrah, one of the best you will find.- Neal Martin"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (November 2015)

Go to Lismore Estate

Lismore - Decanter Magazine - December 2015

Lismore - Decanter Magazine - December 2015

decanter logo 250"South Africa is now a strong contender for the world’s most improved and exciting wine nation, bar none. Its transformation is rapid and ongoing. The pace of change and achievement is staggering.” .....
“So what has changed?...Arguably the shift is generational- the new group of highly passionate, original and talented winemakers includes, Eben Sadie, Chris Mullineux, Chris and Suzaan Alheit, JD Pretorius, Duncan Savage, Peter de Wet, Samantha O'Keefe, Peter-Allan Finlayson and Matthew Day. None of them lacking in confidence, determination, talent or passion. You can taste it in the wines.” - John Stimpfig
- Decanter Magazine (December 2015)


Producer Details
South Africa
Wine Production Area
South Africa - -
Samantha O'Keefe
Samantha O'Keefe
30 acres (12 hectares)
Grape Varietal(s)
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet Franc

Producer Documents