The why, the what and the how of...
Danie Steytler: Kaapzicht Steytler and Danie Jnr.
The latest addition to Great Domaines’ portfolio is the premium, bespoke Kaapzicht range of Steytler wines (Vision, Pentagon and 1947 Chenin Blanc) and the new Danie Jnr range - everyday wines crafted especially for Great Domaines. Both wines, a red blend and Chenin Blanc, come from grapes grown on the Kaapzicht family farm.
The name Kaapzicht (meaning “Cape view”) refers to the scenic view of Cape Town from this 4th generation family farm in the heart of Stellenbosch, which was established in 1946 by Danie’s grandfather. At Kaapzicht, it is a real family affair where each member of the family gets involved. Before earning his position of cellar master, Danie studied and worked abroad for 5 years, spending time in the likes of Marlborough, Napa Valley and Saint-Emilion.
“Wine farming is what I grew up with and tasting, drinking and living with wine has shaped the person I am today. At age 10 I got my first tractor and earned my pocket money by working on the farm. At age 12 I made my first barrel of wine – Cabernet 1992 of which I still have some bottles.
After school, I studied Bsc Agriculture – Viticulture and Oenology at Maties taking an extra year to finish as my love for booze grew.
After finally qualifying as a young winemaker my father sent me abroad to make wines in other countries and learn more about the wine culture. I loved my 5 years overseas travelling and working at: Grand Manye (St. Emilion Bordeaux France); Allan Scott (Marlborough New Zealand); Stag’s Leap (Napa USA); Biblia Chora (Kavala Greece); Markus Schneider (Pfalz Germany); MGM (Prioca Italy); Chateau De Negly (Le Clape, France). I also did 3 harvests in SA for the Cape Winemakers Guild Kevin Arnold (Waterford) and Gary Jordan (Jordan). Before coming back to South Africa permanently I worked for a Swedish wine importer Oenoforos and helped set up Nordic Sea Winery the first of its kind in Scandinavia and launched the Umbala range which grew to the biggest South Africa brand in Sweden maxing at just over 5 million litres/year.
It sounds quite “windgat” but it’s not supposed to be impressive just give a feeling of the different types of wine businesses I worked for.
All young winemakers strive to make the “Best Wine in the World”. It’s still my goal but the definition of “best” keeps changing.
Right now I feel making the “best” R100 bottle of wine which can be enjoyed by a wide range of people and still be considered “cool” to drink by my peers/follow winemaking mates has become more my focus. Trying to express regionality, have concertation, power yet elegancy and balance.
“It sounds a little fake truth is I make wines which I like to drink myself. But then I’m not fussy and drink almost anything!”