Meet the Vintner… Jan “Boland” Coetzee
“Stellenbosch has always inspired me. It’s where I was educated, learned the great game of rugby, started a family and made many friends. It is also where I have come to fulfil my passion and fascination for the noble art of winemaking.
It all began in 1980 when I purchased the farm Vriesenhof in the Paradyskloof Valley. Together with my team, I set about cultivating plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, pinotage and Pinot Noir. Today these plantings produce
a very diverse range of wines under the label of Vriesenhof.
I’ve always believed that one’s footsteps must be in the soil, you must understand the soil, the plant and the climate.” – Jan “Boland” Coetzee
Who in the wine world do you admire and how have they influenced you?
An Australian Jack Mann (1906-1989) who said : A winemaker is a humble servant of nature, his role is to give nature the opportunity to produce the best possible wine. Nature creates, man only guides.
Which is your favourite variety to work with and why?
In Stellenbosch it is Cab Sauv – you can see the colour darkening and the smell developing, and be aware of its different flavours, especially during fermentation – grassy, leathery, beefy, pencil-lead and a lot more
Any advice for budding winemakers?
Always be aware of the environment
What factors makes a great vintage?
Nature and caring
What is your all-time food and wine pairing?
Pinot Noir and baked sheep neck
What has surprised you most of being a Stellenbosch winemaker?
The stamp of the environment and the vigour of the eastern wind on some vintages (one in ten years)
What’s the strangest word you’ve used to describe the smell or taste of wine?
Describing the backside of a horse pulling a cart (under the tail)
Tell us about your first Stellenbosch harvest
On my own in the Kanonkop cellar in 1969 – very little sleep
What goals in winemaking are you still working to achieve?
The ultimate wine – because what counts in a man is his dreams and I haven’t stop dreaming !