During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Danie led the way in proving to the wine world that South Africa is indeed capable of producing Chardonnays expressing the country’s distinctive terrains and climate. This has led to De Wetshof reputation as an internationally renowned, award-winning Chardonnay producer. Danie’s sons, Johann and Peter, are today jointowners of De Wetshof. Johann is De Wetshof ’s vineyard manager, as well as being marketing director involved with local and international sales. Peter followed in his father’s footsteps, his passion for winemaking leading him to Geisenheim.
De Wetshof Estate – three generations, one set of wine-making values
De Wetshof is a third generation wine estate in South Africa’s Robertson Valley, where wine has been made for over 150 years. Here Danie de Wet, proprietor and cellar-master, is assisted by sons and co-owners Johann and Peter. De Wetshof Estate is a pioneer of noble white wines in South Africa and was also instrumental in introducing certain superior red varieties to the Robertson Wine Valley.
The De Wet family’s winemaking heritage can be traced back to 1693 when the first De Wets arrived at the Cape from Holland, and within a generation they had immersed themselves in the winemaking industry. De Wetshof Estate was established in 1949 by Johan de Wet. Inspired by his father’s commitment to furthering wine excellence in the Robertson region and South Africa, Danie de Wet went to Germany to study at the renowned Geisenheim Institute for Viticulture and Oenology. Upon his return, he partnered his father in introducing various white wine varieties to the region and the country, most notably Chardonnay.
In order to get a grounding in the wine-making aspects of a variety of grape varieties, Peter has to date worked at several estates in Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, Germany and California and has been a runner-up in the Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year Award.
Danie, Johan and Peter still base the values of De Wetshof on those laid down by Johann de Wet senior in the 1970’s when he began keeping meticulous records on each vineyard on the Estate. Each vineyard is vinified separately, the wine-makers having a clear understanding of what the fruit of each vineyard’s labour is going to deliver during a specific year. This commitment to site-specific vineyard management and wine-making has been an integral part of the De Wetshof ethos from the outset and remains a vital aspect of all the Estate’s wines. As their next custodians, the current generation will ensure that these values remain at the soul of De Wetshof for the ones to come.