“The precision required to create the perfect bubble is relentless, but the reward when you open that bottle and hear the signature ‘pop’ is an unparalleled sense of joy”.
In the spirit of Women’s Month, we asked our Cap Classique winemaker, Danielle Jacobs, to share some insight on her journey from an apprentice to an acclaimed Boschendal Winemaker.
Recently featured as part of the Wineland #30under30, Jacobs’ inspirational story presents a deeper look into the source of her drive and passion for her exceptional craft, with everything from her very first harvest at Elsenburg, to the challenges she’s faced in the day-to-day operations of winemaking and finally her personal experiences and ethos.
Danielle remembers spending long nights next to the brandy copper measuring alcohol, fantastic trips to interesting locations, scrubbing, scrubbing and more scrubbing in the cellar and the blissful, relatively carefree life of the students having a ball and not yet fully aware of the hard work and intricacies of true winemaking – specifically making method traditional wines such as Cap Classique.
“There are few things in life that require the patience equivalent to making wine and even more so Cap Classique. The precision required to create the perfect bubble is relentless but the reward when you open that bottle and hear the signature ‘pop’ is an unparalleled sense of joy” says Danielle on why she delved into Cap Classique as her chosen path.
Danielle carries an inspiring ethos with her every day which is not only to challenge the status quo but improve on it. This mindset shines through in the highly competitive industry she finds herself flourishing in.
Every morning, Danielle is motivated by the opportunity to create something profound with people who have similar visions and focus. Her approach to driving her success is to always seek as much inspiration and information as possible – from others’ experiences, scientific data or even bloggers, so that she can make the most informed decision when facing her day-to-day tasks.
Jacobs believes in testing all things but holding on to that which is good and her advice for handling the pressure is to: “Take a break, clear your head, reorganize and prioritize when you have regrouped.”
When asked about the advice she would give other women striving towards similar goals in this fascinating industry, she replies: “I recently read a fabulous quote by Martina Navratilova (a world class tennis player of the 70’s) that said ‘The ball does not know how old I am’ as a response to how she maintains her physique at the age of 63.”
“This is also true about winemaking. Regardless of anyone’s bias, the grapes and wines do not know which gender I am or what my shoe size is, what the date on my birth certificate is or how I like my coffee. The only things that matter are my approach and decisions that I make which will be reflected in the final wine. If you do the work and you make the best possible wine, no one’s judgment can take that away” adds Jacobs.
“My advice to women in the industry? Do the work. You are treated as good or as bad as you allow people to treat you. Do not back down because of a stereotype or bias. If you are in the wine industry for the right reasons, no one can take that away’. There is a special bond between women in the wine industry and Jacobs definitely pulls support and learns from them. She describes so eloquently “a silver thread that binds women in the wonderful world of wine.”
Having played a major role in the production of South Africa’s best Cap Classique wine (as voted by Amorim) in the Jean Le Long 2009, Danielle hopes to keep building the Boschendal brands and plans to make some world-class strides of her own in the world of South African Cap Classique.