Wine Cellar celebrates women in wine

As Women’s Month draws to a close, Wine Cellar and its team of experts on fine wine are honouring six leading women in wine by gifting one lucky Stellenbosch Visio reader a Wine Women Winemaker Insiders Case worth R1,630.

How to win

Send an email to digital@stellenboschvisio.co.za with the subject line WINE CELLAR by 31 August 2022. Remember to include your full names, courier address and contact number. Entrants must be 18 or older. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted via email.

WINNER: Simone Theron

From zero dosage Cap Classique to low intervention and regenerative farming practices, these six women are winemakers to watch, according to Wine Cellar:

Lelie van Saron by Natasha Williams

It was Natasha’s school career counsellor who first identified that she would make an excellent winemaker given her interests. She went on to graduate from Stellenbosch University with a degree in Oenology, did a stint in California and travelled through France before settling as winemaker at Bosman Family Vineyards in 2014. It’s here that she sources the grapes for her personal venture, Lelie van Saron. She started with a Chardonnay and Syrah and recently expanded her range. Natasha creates wines with a pure expression of the terroir and grape variety using natural methods.

Glen Heatlie by Joan Heatlie

Grenache Blanc-lover Joan Heatlie set off on her own after working at Solms-Delta and Mullineux. The name Glen Heatlie traces its roots back to her 1880s family farm where her great-grandfather produced Heatlie’s Brandy. As a child, Joan’s interest in winemaking was sparked when she helped out with pruning and odd vineyard jobs on the family grape and citrus farm during school holidays. She’s best known for her Glen Heatlie The Frontier Grenache Blanc which garnered 4.5 stars from Platter’s Wine Guide and 90 points from Tim Atkin in 2021.

VineVenom by Samantha Suddons

After completing her studies with the Cape Wine Academy and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, Samantha gained a wealth of experience with prominent wineries, including Mullineux, Terracura, Silwervis, Smiley Wines and Reyneke. The latter made the greatest impression, exposing her to low intervention, biodynamic and organic farming. As such, VineVenom produces wines from sustainably farmed vineyards, focusing on quality over quantity to express terroir. Oxidatively aged under flor, her Shining Rosé is perhaps her most celebrated wine.

Craven Wines by Jeanine Craven

This sentiment certainly reflects Jeanine Craven’s site-specific, hands-off winemaking style. She visited the wine co-op as a child with her father to deliver grapes and the aroma of crushed and fermenting grapes is one of Jeanine’s earliest memories of wine. She and her husband Mick first met working a wine harvest in Sonoma, California, and have, since 2013, gone on to establish themselves as revolutionaries. Best known for their Pinot Gris and Cinsault, Jeanine’s aim is to make honest, bright wines that tell a story about the special site on which the grapes were grown.

Momento Wines by Marelise Niemann

It may have been “a skelm glass of Tassies at a school dance” that kindled her curiosity for winemaking, but Marelise Niemann has gone on to produce elegant and pure wines with sound structure and texture. Having cut her teeth in California and as winemaker for Beaumont Wines, Marelise picked her first Grenache for her solo project in 2011 and then launched Momento wines in 2013. Working with old vines in Bot River and the Swartland, she’s recognised for her graceful wines, which place terroir front and centre. The hand-drawn vine on her labels is by husband and artist Hennie Niemann Jnr and depicts an old vine and various personal characters.

Genevieve Méthode Cap Classique by Melissa Genevieve Nelsen

These are the markings of Genevieve Méthode Cap Classique which launched in 2010 and was inspired by Melissa’s passion for Cap Classique. Having once planned to become a pilot, these days Melissa is celebrated for her blue-label zero dosage Blanc de Blancs, which is aged on the lees for four years. Produced from old Chardonnay vines in Bot River, her sparkling wines embody an elegant, classic style. The critics agree, with Tim Atkin awarding her 2015 and 2016 Blanc de Blancs 94 points and 93 points, respectively.