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.