Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Malan family's winemaking dates back to 1688 when the first Malan arrived in South Africa. As a French Huguenot, he was given land at the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch to plant new vineyards. Soon thereafter, he moved to the Stellenbosch region, which quickly became famous for the quality of its grapes. In 1953 one of his descendants, Frans Malan, planted vineyards on De Hoop, in the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountain outside Stellenbosch. Endowed with quintessential terroir, this farm subsequently became the nucleus of the Simonsig Wine Estate. 1968 saw the introduction of his first wines, sold under the Simonsig Estate label - literally translated meaning Simon's View - named after the spectacular views of the Simonsberg Mountain.
The late Frans Malan, was not only a craftsman of superior wines, but introduced numerous Simonsig 'firsts' leaving an indelible legacy in the Cape Winelands. His groundbreaking innovations include the country's first Chardonnay and Rhine Riesling, meticulously bottled by hand and personally labeled by his wife Liza. Simonsig's first red wine followed in 1970, which today continues to raise the benchmark for South African Pinotage. Frans also produced South Africa's first Methode Cap Classique, Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Sparkle) - bottle fermented sparkling wine made in the style of French champagne, more than 30 years ago.
In addition, he was instrumental in starting the famous Stellenbosch Wine Route which has, since 1971, introduced numerous local cellars to wine lovers from all over the world. Today it is the third largest tourist attraction of the Western Cape and a true testament of his pioneering foresight and contribution towards elevating the South African wine industry to world-class standards. Acknowledging his innovation and inspiration, Frans was named South African Winemaker of the Year in 1977.
In 1983, Frans' three sons - Pieter, Francois and Johan - formed a unique partnership to manage the fast-growing Simonsig Wine Estate, with 60 percent of the production exported to more the 35 countries. Equipped with progressive winemaking skills and a proud heritage , producing superior wine is still a family tradition as the new generation competes in the global wine market.
Today, Simonsig vineyards comprise 211 hectares producing an extensive range of formidable red, white and sparkling wines. Pioneers in wine excellence, the estate is acknowledged as one of the most reputable private wine producers in South Africa. Simonsig enjoys an impressive record of prestigious local and international awards. The estate was voted top wine producer by no less than three South African wine competitions and bears numerous accolades, including South Africa's Top Shiraz and Woman Winemaker of the Year.