The view from Simonsig

 Simonsig enters an exciting new phase with third-generation winemaker Michael Malan taking the reins as cellarmaster. He follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Frans, and father Johan, who not only established Simonsig as one of South Africa’s most innovative wineries, but also one of the most consistently awarded.

Michael Malan


Michael takes on his new role ahead of this year’s grape harvest with Simonsig also having made two key appointments – Danna de Jongh and Frank Slabbert.

Frank and Danna with Michael and his father Johan

Danna was formerly the winemaker at Constantia Uitsig and has taken responsibility for Simonsig’s Cap Classiques; and Frank, who was previously at Constantia Glen, steps in as assistant winemaker.

An iconic bubbly

Michael’s grandfather, Frans, is credited as the pioneer of South Africa’s first Cap Classique ever made – the iconic Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021. It also marked the birth of the country’s Cap Classique category. But, while Kaapse Vonkel was conceived in 1971, Frans bottled the first wine, a Chenin Blanc, under the Simonsig label in 1968 which, in 2023, will be 55 years ago.



The tasting room at Simonsig

Both new appointees starting harvest on the estate are Namibia-born. Danna was raised on a farm, and, as has become tradition for many Namibian school-leavers, she embarked on studies in Germany. She completed a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Geisenheim University in Germany in 2016, and soon after joined Constantia Uitsig as assistant winemaker. A year later, she was promoted to winemaker and viticulturist.

Although born in South Africa’s northerly neighbour, Frank spent much of his schooling in Stellenbosch before embarking on studies at Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg. He graduated with a B. Agric degree and subsequently worked at Muratie, Eagle’s Nest and Constantia Glen in addition to doing a harvest in New York state.




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