SA Wine Trailblazer: Danie Steytler Jnr

Thursday, 25 November, 2021
Wines of South Africa
Standing at a lookout point on Kaapzicht farm with Danie Steytler Jnr, Stellenbosch’s Bottelary in all its glory is laid out below. The wind-scrubbed sky is bright above the rolling green slopes, and in the distance are Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.

“This is where our name comes from, ‘Kaapzicht’ means Cape View,” Danie explains, a glass of the estate’s pinotage rosé in-hand. The Steytlers have been farming here since 1946. Danie is its fourth generation winemaker. Like his father, he also grew up among the vines and fynbos corridors of the farm.

“There was plenty of adventuring in my childhood,” he laughs. “We would spend our days building hideouts and tree houses. My school holidays were also spent working on the farm; I had my own spade to chop out weeds and when I was ten I got my first tractor.”

Winemaking also made an early appearance. “When I was 13 I made my first barrel of wine, a cabernet, which I used as presents for Christmas and birthdays.”

After school he built on that first barrel with a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Stellenbosch University. He augmented his learning by working two vintages at Waterford under Kevin Arnold as well as a stint at Chateau Grand Mayne in St Émilion.

A period at Jordan Wines followed, then he once again took to the sky to work at Alan Scott in Blenheim, New Zealand, and then to Stags Leap in the Napa Valley. For the next couple of years he worked as a flying winemaker, regularly being sent to Italy, Greece and South Africa to source and blend bulk wines for the Swedish Systembolaget.

Finally, in 2009 he started on Kaapzicht as winemaker.

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Danie Steytler Jnr
Danie Steytler Jnr

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