Stellenbosch, South Africa
See Simonsig wines we sell
Simonsig's has won some of the world's most sought-after awards. Their stature in South Africa, and so too the world's wine circles, was achieved by the innovation, and quest for excellence by the founder, Frans Malan, and his three sons- Pieter, Francois and Johann. They have been at the forefront of putting South Africa on the map as a quality wine producing country, as well as a highly regarded tourist destination.
Frans Malan was the first to introduce Chardonnay (as well as many other European varietals to South Africa), the first to produce South African Sparkling Wine, and was the organiser of the Stellenbosch Wine route, which today sees thousands of international tourists annually.
The estate is situated just north-west of Stellenbosch, 45km east of Cape Town. Today it includes 300ha of vineyards, as well as 70ha of citrus and fruits for the export market. It boasts some of the regions oldest vineyards, which produce fuller, more concentrated flavors.
Descending from the original winemaking Huguenot settlers in 1688, Frans Malan started producing wine on De Hoop estate in 1953, which bordered the Simonsig farm. He bought Simonsig in 1964, improved the cellars, planted new vines and wine from the newly expanded estate was first bottled under the Simonsig label in 1968.
In the early 1970s, he introduced Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Wiesser Riesling- all white European varietals to South Africa, as well as the concept of using small French-oak barrels for maturing wine in the cellar. South Africa has since become known for it's Superb Chardonnay. So too he produced South Africas first sparkling wine in 1971, the famous "Kaapse Vonkel" series. Today, this wine is left on its lees for 3 years. This makes great bubbly!!
One of his finest achievements for South Africa was his inception of the Stellenbosch wine route, an idea he conceived whilst traveling Bordeaux. At our company we receive calls daily from tourists who have recently returned from the winelands in the Cape. The route allows them to experience the myriad of visual and taste experiences that this organised route entails. The variety of locations, wine styles and natural beauty helps to establish South Africas rightful place in the tourists mind as a great wine producing region.
His sons took the reins of the estate in the early 1980s and have carried on their fathers role as innovator.
Pieter Malan, the oldest son, heads the Administration and Marketing side, and has grown their exports to 72,000 cases a year to 20 countries. This distribution web has grown international interest in South African wine and helped the industry as a whole.
Francois Malan heads up the land management, from grape to pear! He takes great pride in the quality of the vines and grapes, and their huge yields of quality grapes has made Simonsig the largest privately-owned estate in South Africa. The vineyards are watched over with the utmost care, and are catered for during growing season for optimum results by irrigation, even though the average rainfall is about 550mm a year!
The youngest son, Johan Malan, is the cellarmaster and winemaker. Although the wines are fruit-forward, concentrated and balanced of the New-World style, he follows traditional winemaking ideals. The results of his intricate detail have become some of South Africa's most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnay and Pinotages. Like Francois, he is pro-active and will make adjustments if need be, or just for the want of a better result.
Simonsigs "Tiara" Bordeaux-style blend won the "best estate blend" category at the World Wine Championships, and at the 1990 Wine and Spirit Championships Simonsig won both the "Best South African Red and White" category.
The Malan family has ensured that their French winemaking heritage has continued in the new world, producing quality wines ready for any palate.