Today on the podcast we have Johan Malan, Director of Wine at the historic Simonsig Estate in Stellenbosch. As you will hear in this episode, Johan is very easy to talk to, humble, and has a rather infections giggle. While he is justifiably proud of what Simonsig has achieved over the years, he is very far from resting on his laurels – as exhibited by The Grapesmith wines we reference.

Simonsig is one of the grand old names in Stellenbosch whose reputation was set in motion by Johan’s father, Frans. An incredibly important person in the development of Stellenbosch as a premium wine area, the Estate system, and wine tourism in South Africa.

I asked Johan on the podcast because both Cathy van Zyl MW and Michael Fridjhon on previous podcasts referenced Simonsig’s (and especially Frans’) work in setting up the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the first of its kind in South Africa, and helped pave the way for quality-minded producers that has eventually led to the fine wine revolution the country has experienced over the last 10-15 years.

While Simonsig is probably best known to most domestic wine consumers as the pioneers of traditional method sparkling wine with their wine Kaapse Vonkel, they also produce important Chenin Blanc and Pinotage wines.

I think this is one of the most important podcast episodes I have done so far. Simonsig may no longer command the column inches it once did, but it is and will forever remain one of the most important wine Estates in South Africa. Frans and Johan Malan have positively affected the reputation of Stellenbosch, helping shift the focus from the volume producers based in Paarl. Virtually every single top wine producer in South Africa today has the Malan’s of Simonsig to thank for the route to market they helped envision, create and curate from the 1970s to the 1990s.

I give you Johan Malan…

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