Introducing Team SA : Jolette Steyn

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Team South Africa took to the skies on Sunday 8th Oct, to participate in the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships to be held in Burgundy, France on Saturday 14th Oct. Jolette is one of 2 winemakers in the team.

Team SA is comprised of 2 winemakers; Anton Swarts CWM (Spier), Jolette Steyn (Steenberg), 1 marketer; Captain Anita Streicher-Nel (Anthonij Rupert Wyne) and 1 PR Consultant, Jeanri-Tine van Zyl (Feedthatbird), with the reserve Nkululeko Mkhwanazi waiting with baited breath in the wings.

Jolette is a winemaker, photo-taker and believes that life needs a soundtrack as per her Instagram account @wijnsteijn.  She participated in the South African Wine Tasting Championships this year for the first time, and achieved the highest provincial score of the year, winning her the special Wonga Trophy, named after talented sommelier Sibonele Wonga Nongqotho, who died tragically earlier this year.

Jolette is a linguist of note, speaking 4 languages and In her free time you can find her speaking French and Spanish, climbing Table Mountain and learning to surf. When asked about wines, she will use words like 'honest', 'true to the terroir, 'true to the tradition, true to the season and true to the personality of the person making it'.

Jolette focused on design throughout her schooling. After a year of living in France after school, Jolette combined her love for travel, languages, art and sciences by studying Wine-making (Bachelor of Science Degree in Viticulture and Oenology) at the University of Stellenbosch.
She then completed her Master of Science in Europe while attending classes in Angers (France), Piacenza (Italy) and Valencia (Spain) and concluded with her thesis project on the “Vigour of Grenache Noir Vines in Priorat” (Spain). Before, during and after her studies, she continued her motto of lifelong learning by harvesting and working at ten different wineries throughout South Africa, New Zealand, France, Spain and the USA before taking on the role of Assistant Winemaker at Steenberg Vineyards in October 2014 and then being promoted to Winemaker shortly afterwards.

In 2016, Jolette passed her WSET Advanced Level 3 course with distinction and is working towards becoming a UK Master of Wine. and has also taught at the SKOP3 classes offered by Wine Training SA and she is keen to do more of this.  Her dream is to make my own wine, empower our agricultural workforce and promote the beauty of South African wines worldwide.

Jolette’s philosophy centres on a profound respect for the traditions of the viticultural community and for different terroirs, whilst simultaneously focusing on creativity and innovation within the wine and vine spectrum.

 Team SA: Coach JV Ridon, Jolette Steyn, Anita Streicher-Nel(captain), Anton Swarts & Jeanri-Tine van Zyl


We wish Team South Africa and their fellow African Team Zimbabwe all the best next week at the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships, organised by French Monthly Wine magazine Le Revue du Vin de France, described by wine fundi Jancis Robinson as "France's only serious wine magazine.

Both teams will be chaperoned on a whistle-stop tour of France by inimitable French coach Jean Vincent Ridon, who has single-handedly founded and driven this competition since its inception in 2014.  It is great to see Nederburg assisting the team this year with sponsorship, as well as Amorim, Spier and of course wine.co.za, who have supported the team since the very first year.

The current World Champions are China, so they are keen to take them on head-on this year. Both teams have had plenty of training with the energetic and dedicated JV Ridon and I am sure they will shine on the day.

TeamSA 2017 - Jolette Steyn