Kaapzicht is a family legacy. Learn about the generations who made us who we are.
After fighting in WW2, his previous life as a Karoo sheep farmer didn’t hold much excitement for Major David Steytler. In search of greater adventure closer to the big city of Cape Town, he trades in the Karoo sheep for a wine farm, then named Rozendal, in the idyllic hills of Bottelary.
The 1947 Chenin Blanc vineyard is planted, making it the second oldest surviving Chenin Blanc vineyard in South Africa today.
Rozendal is handed over to the second generation of Steytlers, George and his wife Zelda.Together, they build up the farm, cultivating tobacco, wheat, vegetables and set up a dairy.
Danie Steytler Snr is born, who will go on to be the winemaker at Kaapzicht for over 40 years.
George Steytler Jnr is born, who will farm alongside his brother for more than 30 years.
The first Pinotage vineyard is planted on the farm – a pioneering move, as this is still a young, fairly unknown South African variety.
By now, most of the wheat and tobacco has been phased out and planted with vineyards. However, the cellar is fairly rudimentary with no electricity. Many nights are spent running the old press by hand and Danie Snr and George often catch up on sleep at school during class after pulling all-nighters in the winery.
Oom Ilias Janse joins the Kaapzicht team, making him the longest running member of the Kaapzicht team today.
Adamant that the role of winemaker shouldn’t simply be inherited, George Snr insists that Danie Snr formally apply for the position of head winemaker.
Danie Jnr is born, making him the fourth generation at Kaapzicht.
The Kliprug Chenin Blanc vineyard is planted and named by the farm workers for its appearance – “rocky back”.
Tired of giving half of their wine to the Stellenbosch Farmers Winery (SFW), Rozendal starts bottling wine under its new name: Kaapzicht, named after its iconic view over the Cape. Viewing Kaapzicht as competition, SFW refuses to take any of their surplus wine. This was quite risky, as most wine at the time could not be exported and South Africa’s wine was predominantly sold domestically through cooperatives like SFW. Undeterred, Kaapzicht continues to bottle their own wine, leading to their SFW membership being revoked in 1987.
Keen to earn more pocket money, Danie Jnr makes his first wine at age 12: 100 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite the best of intentions, Danie gave most of the bottles away as gifts – a habit that has never left him.
With access to international markets again, Kaapzicht begins exporting wine. With Danie Snr’s wife Yngvild’s German heritage, it was only natural that Germany would become a major market for Kaapzicht. Yngvild will go on to tirelessly develop Kaapzicht’s export market until her retirement in 2021.
Danie Snr registers Bottelary as a ward in Stellenbosch. Kaapzicht is the first wine in the area to have W.O. Bottelary Stellenbosch designation on the label.
Having worked in Italy, Greece, Germany, St Emillion, New Zealand, Napa Valley and Sweden, Danie Jnr returns to Kaapzicht. Clearly heralding great things to come, the Steytler Pinotage 2006 wins Decanter’s best red wine in the world, cementing Kaapzicht’s position as one of the top Pinotage producers in South Africa.
A big year for Kaapzicht. Not only is Danie Louis Steytler 3rd born, inspiring the creation of the Cabernet Franc, but the Steytler 1947 becomes Kaapzicht’s first white wine to win a Platter’s 5 star rating.
Mieke Steytler is born in the middle of harvest even though she was only due in June. Danie Jnr had to wake up his father in the middle of the night to take care of the cellar so that he could rush to hospital. Both a Hanepoot Jerepigo and Cinsaut from vines planted in 1952 are made in her honour.
Along with the rest of Cape Town, Kaapzicht experiences its worst drought in recent memory. However, smaller berries with pronounced silkier tannins result in quality wines that make this one of best vintages of the decade.
Having dedicated a combined seven decades to Kaapzicht, Danie Snr and Yngvild retire, officially handing Kaapzicht over to Danie Jnr and Carin, the fourth generation of Steytlers.