Taking a fine balance between innovation and tradition to new heights has once again proved fruitful for legacy Franschhoek Valley winery, Boschendal as its Cap Classique winemaker, Danielle Coetsee, received the prestigious Woman Winemaker of the Year award at the 2020 SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards.
With an estimated 10% of winemakers being female worldwide, this recognition is especially poignant for the 335-year-old winery and Coetsee (née Jacobs) alike.
“Our country has produced stellar winemakers throughout the years who continue to ensure the growing success of locally made wines. I feel incredibly honoured and humbled to receive this award for my contribution at Boschendal wines.”
Caroline van Schalkwyk, head of marketing for the Cap Classique Producers Association (CCPA), was quick to add her praise of this achievement of the heritage estate.
“The Cap Classique from Boschendal are consistent with the highest standard, and we are proud to have them as members of the association. Danielle’s commitment to quality and the Cap Classique category in general sets a fine example to other winemakers in the industry.
“With wines like these and passionate winemakers behind them, we are ensuring that Cap Classique is globally recognised as a product of distinction and elegance.”
Coetsee knows that science, experience and hard work are the key ingredients – and the importance of getting your hands dirty during harvest.
“Attention to detail and dedication to continuous improvement are the most important characteristics a winemaker should have,” says Coetsee.
“Having an amazing support system, at the Boschendal cellar and at home; being patient but diligent in the endeavour to produce top-class wines. “
Shirley van Wyk, marketing manager for Boschendal Wines was especially proud of the accolade.
“South African cap classique wines are a force to be reckoned with. Seeing first-hand the dedication and passion that Danielle has given to the estate, I believe we will continue to see growth and appreciation for our wines increase in the international market.
“There is a uniqueness to South African wines that cannot be reproduced elsewhere – and a uniqueness to Boschendal wines that we have crafted over many generations.”
At just 11 years old, Coetsee’s uncle inspired her to be a winemaker with his tales of winemaking and viticulture from Elsenburg. Since then, her devotion to the profession has only grown and as the assistant winemaker at Boschendal, she plays a pivotal part in creating the estate’s award-winning vintages.
Before Boschendal, Coetsee was the winemaker and farm manager at a boutique winery in Botriver, Eerste Hoop.
Here she gained a 91-point score for her first solo vintage wine – a Cape White Blend. Prior to that, she was the assistant winemaker at Noble Hill Wine Estate.
With a viticulture and oenology degree from Elsenburg (Stellenbosch), she’s continuously chasing the perfect balance between science and art in her winemaking technique. By fluidly merging creative freedom with century-old tried and tested methodology, she brings something utterly unique to every vintage she creates.
Inspired by the likes of Norma Ratcliffe, Fiona Mcdonald, Elunda Basson and Andrea Mullineux, Danielle is a strong voice for female winemakers in the industry. Her intuition and empathy shines through and she’s determined to be a role model for young women entering the profession.
Her go-to wine at dinner parties is either the 1685 Boschendal Chardonnay for easy drinking or the Elgin Appellation Series Chardonnay for a special occasion.
When she’s not creating superlative wines, she can be found travelling locally to new and interesting locations, her heartstrings pull towards small and interesting towns with beautiful histories and architecture, always with a book in hand.
Coetsee was the Veritas Young Wine Writer runner-up in 2015 and can still be found writing articles for media and blogs for Boschendal.
On weekends, she is either daunting new recipes in the kitchen, attempting to grow a sustainable garden or relaxing with friends, family and her Rottweiller-Collie and all-round “super pup” Kahlo.