Jacques Viljoen, Cellar Master Boschendal
Raised in the Cape’s Winelands, his most memorable experience with wine was at the impressionable age of five during a pre-school outing to a wine cellar. After the winemaker handed out small cups of must (freshly crushed grape juice) to all the pupils, Jacques was enamoured: “It was a taste revelation. I recall the juice being so sweet and concentrated, and a very specific smell of fermentation esters floating in the air. It certainly triggered something in me,” he reflects. From there, the decision to become a winemaker came naturally. At 18, Jacques went on to study winemaking at Stellenbosch University.
Following a formative period in France where Jacques learnt his style that merges classic and modern techniques. On his return to South Africa he spent a further 16 years refining his winemaking skills before joining Boschendal. Based on his inherent love and respect of nature, Jacques endeavours to stay true to it. He is an expert in honouring terroir and the natural fruit to produce award-winning vintages. “Winemaking is like preparing a meal for someone. You know the effort that went into making it and it is rewarding to see your guests enjoy it,” explains Jacques. Jacques is particularly strategic in his response to tackling challenges of any sort, with an ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ perspective.
Ultimately, winemaking is a team sport, and for Jacques, it is about ensuring he is able to support every person and encourage their strengths in order to reap the best results – vintage after vintage.
Danielle Coetsee, Cap Classique Winemaker Boschendal
For a lucky few, there is a definitive moment when the world quietly slips away, and all that remains is an inspired instant between you and the wine that leaves you awestruck. For others, it’s a special memory that confirms your love for wine. For Danielle Coetsee, Cap Classique Winemaker at Boschendal, it was a combination of both.
At just 11 years old, Danielle’s uncle inspired her to be a winemaker with his tales of studying winemaking and viticulture from Elsenburg. Yet, it was not until Danielle’s first harvest and tasting through some particularly memorable wines that a deeper love for winemaking blossomed: “Reaping the reward after months of hard work is a profound moment for any winemaker. I’ve also been majorly influenced by some incredible wines I’ve had the privilege of trying, including a 2010 Chateau de Myrat Sauternes Grand Cru, a 2007 Costers del Siurana Priorat Miserere, a 2013 AA Badenhorst White Blend and of course, the 2008 Boschendal Jean Le Long”. While studying viticulture and oenology at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, Danielle had her first encounter with the camaraderie and openness that exists within the wine world. This spirit of community and willingness to share knowledge motivated her to continue along with her vocation.
Before Boschendal, Danielle was the winemaker and farm manager at a boutique winery for several years and it was during this formative time that Danielle cemented her approach to winemaking. “It may sound super cliche, but it still rings true – you need good grapes to make good wine. You can make bad wine from good grapes, but you cannot make good wine from bad grapes,” she explains. Beyond that, she believes that meticulous attention to detail and a “kick-ass palate” are cornerstones to sound winemaking.
Heinie Nel, Viticulturist Boschendal
Heinie grew up on a farm where he developed a passion for viticulture at a young age. After he completed his studies in viticulture at Elsenburg, he started his career at Bosman Family Vineyards, where he had the privilege to expand his knowledge in viticulture for 9 years. In 2013 he started working at Perdeberg Cellar as a viticulturist, allowing him the opportunity to work with a diverse group of growers and terroir.
Over the years Heinie has performed extremely well as part of the wine team at Perdeberg where he also had to buy in grapes from different wine regions. Heinie understands the critical link between good grapes and wine and has a big passion for premium wine.
Working in nature has always been a humbling experience for Heinie and the best part of his job as a viticulturist. Heinie enjoys spending time at home with his wife, Marietjie, and their daughter, Mieke-Marè. When not at work or at home, you will find him in the mountains on a bike, hitting a few balls on the golf course or watching almost any kind of sport.
We are all very confident that Heinie will make a significant contribution to the business where he will work very closely with the winemakers, sales and marketing teams to help drive and add momentum to our premium and ultra-premium strategy.
Charl Schoeman, White Wines Winemaker Boschendal
Charl grew up in Wellington, surrounded by vineyards and mountains. In this small town there was always an atmosphere of excitement during harvest season with tractors full of grapes driving through the streets and harvest festivals a plenty. Having always loved the outdoors there was a natural draw for Charl towards viticulture from a young age which developed into a love for wine and eventually winemaking. After school Charl went to study BSc Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University and thereafter completed his Masters degree in winemaking.
Following his studies Charl worked at a industry leading winery for 10 years gaining experience. During this time Charl also spent some time abroad working a harvest in France at Vieux Chateau Certan in Bordeaux. Charl says he has been blessed with amazing wine mentors as a young winemaker and will forever be grateful to those people. Then there were also some unforgettable wines that have ignited his passion for winemaking. The most memorable being Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 and Le Pin 1990.
Over time Charl has realized the importance of the quality of vineyards in winemaking. For Charl the role of a winemaker is to respect, protect and accentuate what the grapevine offers. Charl believes that if you can manage that there is a good chance the resulting wines will showcase the terroir and be of excellent quality. At the end it is all about faith, balance and respecting the grapes.
Furthermore, a winemaker is only as strong as the team he/she is surrounded by and fortunately Charl is blessed to work with an amazing team at Boschendal.