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The boy on the donkey and the goodness of people

Great Domaines Samaritaan

Francois Hanekom is a viticulturist and farm manager in Stellenbosch’s Helderberg. He has been likened by BLANKbottle Winery’s Pieter Walser to that little alien who sits inside the anatomically human robot from the 1997 movie, Men In Black. If the Helderberg’s vineyards were the robot, Francois is the alien. The element of ‘control’ implied here is the extraordinary knowledge that Francois possesses of the very best parcels of vines in the appellation and the access he has to them due to the simple fact that he farms and manages many of them. Imagine there was a red wine produced from what are arguably the very best parcels within the very best vineyard blocks in the Helderberg!

Dear Reader,

”The penny dropped for me”, Francois Hanekom tells me as we drive through the vineyards in his bakkie, ”when I was in Burgundy and saw the winemakers’ grape and soil-stained hands.” It was the connection that the Burgundian vignerons have to their vineyards that really hit home for Francois and a renewed understanding of terroir and site expression in wine.

A certain Swartland vigneron pointed out to Francois that he ought to make a wine because he has three key things at his disposal: the time to make a wine, the access to truly amazing vineyards and the supporting workforce on account of his day job of managing 200 hectares of vineyards. Encouraged by this, Francois decided to go for it. He was given three open-top fermenters by the aforementioned Swartlander, along with plenty of guidance. Along with the likes of Pieter Walser, Francois felt humbled by all the support and encouragement he received from the winemaking community.

The wine is a red blend of three Helderberg components. The Merlot is a block of old bush vines growing next to Francois’ homestead, just on the other side of the R44 to that of the Helderberg. The Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a block planted on a granitic outcrop which, according to Francois, is very unique for the Helderberg. We drove up Cordoba Road, through Taaibosch, to a vantage point from where Francois pointed out this special block of Cabernet. The third component is Cabernet Franc. Francois has built up special and valuable relationships with so many people in the winemaking industry. Many of these people are his friends and the source of his Cabernet Franc is something he keeps close to his chest.

W.O. Stellenbosch
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Franc

R 575 
per bottle

A mere 1,100 bottles produced!

Orders are limited to 12 bottles per person.

Great Domaines Samaritaan

For Francois, this wine was only made possible by the kindness and generosity of others. It is for this reason he named it Samaritaan (the Afrikaans for Samaritan). Francois was also struck one day by the image of his son riding one of the farm’s donkeys in the Merlot block. This is the crest of the Samaritaan wine which is delicately stamped into the bottle’s label. As to the design of the interlocking arms, Rohan Etsebeth was commissioned to create it.

The 2019 vintage is the maiden release of Samaritaan. The total production is very small at a mere 1,100 bottles. Francois makes just four barrels! We are very proud to share that the 2019 and subsequent vintages will be available exclusively from Great Domaines in South Africa. Of Francois’ total annual production, a small portion goes to a merchant in the UK, Francois keeps back some for himself and Great Domaines gets the rest.

The wine is packaged in cases of three bottles each (pictured below).


Orders are limited to 12 bottles per person. If you are placing your order on our online shop, please do not add more than 12 bottles to your cart. Thank you. 

We welcome Francois to the GD family and invite you to immerse yourself in the Samaritaan story by enjoying this truly special wine that showcases the treasures of the Helderberg soils.

(For those residing in Joburg, we will have a bottle of the 2019 Samaritaan under Coravin and available for tasting today. Please let us know if you would like to stop by).