International Women’s Day 2023 – WoSA Female Winemakers.
“Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.” (ref. IWD.)
With a long history from 1909 of the IWD, celebrating woman’s achievements has always been a fantastic way on this day. For this year on 8th March, we were invited by WOSA NL and Pitch PR. We celebrated the day with amazing women, including the CEO of the WoSA (Wine of South Africa), Siobhan Thompson, and a brilliant chef, Margot Janse, at SAAM restaurant.
About Restaurant SAAM and Head Chef Margot Janse
SAAM restaurant, located on the famous Amstelzijde strip, merges Dutch and South African gastronomy. In the restaurant overlooking the Amstel River, one of the most beautiful spots surrounding Amsterdam, their guests can encounter an extraordinary experience with a brilliant chef, Margo Jansen, and her team. Margot was born and grew up in the Netherlands and had a chance to move to Zimbabwe, followed by South Africa at the end of the Apartheid. During her long career as the sue chef or head chef in Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, South Africa, the restaurant had been mentioned in World’s 50 Best Restaurants list multiple times. After returning to her mother country, she started her restaurant, SAAM. Additionally, like her days in South Africa, she has worked as a consultant to grow the culinary sector and engaged charity for kids by cooking breakfast for pre-primary school children.
As such, her dishes were full of love for both countries. Buchu, a plant leaf with minty aromas used to make medicine in South Africa, was a refreshing essence for moose in aperitif; Chakalaka, a South African vegetable relish, was served as a part of the sauce. The colorful grilled vegetables implied diversity on the side of the gurnard.
About Wines and their (Female) Producers
According to the WoSA, which has supported exporting of the 500 members, female producers have increased in the past decade, reaching 25-30% in the industry. (FYI: WoSA’s management is almost all female with a few exceptions). One good feature of South African wine is that you can see the winemaker’s face, and some producers are from the young generation, who started their careers five to ten years ago. We’re pleased to know the younger generation of women is taking an active role in the industry.
The followings are the wine list of the day, all made by female producers.
- W.O. Breedekloof | Blanc de Blancs Mariëtte | 2015 | Belle Rebelle Winery | DWA score: 92/100
Mariëtte Stofberg Coetzee was inspired by her grandfather and studied Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch and then worked in South Africa, California, and France. Her Cap Classique has delicate bubbles in pale gold color. Yeasty aromas of biscuits with a creamy texture are well-balanced with vibrant acidity. Classic elegance.
- W.O. Cape South Coast |The Age of Grace | 2021 | Viognier | Lismore Estate Vineyards| DWA score: 90/100
Samantha O’Keefe was born in California and studied at the University of Berkeley to lead the World Bank one day. However, she was lost in the heart in the Cape 20 years ago and started her winery in Grayton, with a similar soil structure to Rhone Valley. Barrel-fermented and aged 100 % Viognier is on the fresher side, with stone and a hint of floral aromas and lively acidity as its backbone.
- W.O. Western Cape | Pas de Nom Creative Batch | 2021 | Cape White Blend | Beau Constantia | DWA score: 87/100
Cape White Blend, with Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Clairette Blanche, shows a range of fruity characteristics, including lemon, clove, and roasted almond. Megan van der Merwe is the youngest winemaker in the Constantia Valley. Her wine production style, with less intervention, makes pure, fresh, approachable wine.
- W.O. Malgas | Chenin Blanc Charla | 2019 | Charla Haasbroek | DWA score: 92/100
Charla Haasbroek is the winemaker of Sijnn in Malgas, and this is her private project in Sijnn vineyards. The wine has a beautiful golden color. Wine with 100% whole bunch pressing, with a lean style with high acidity yet richness on the palate, showing stone fruit or dry apricot, with pleasant bitterness contributing to its additional texture.
- W.O. Western Cape | The Brew Master | 2019 |Nederburg Wines | DWA score: 86/100
Zinaschke Steyn is working as a newest red winemaker in Nederburg. Bordeaux Blend, showing cooked black cherry fruitcake flavors with sweet spices and tobacco leaves. Firm tannins.
- W.O. Elgin | Cabernet Franc | 2016 | The Garajeest | DWA score: 89/100
Callan Williams is a passionate woman, as is the impressive label to express emotions, feelings, and senses. This Bruce is perfect for enjoying along with good food, good feelings, and good people. 100% Cabernet Franc is made in oxidative style with open fermentation tanks. Just-ripe aromas with herbaceous notes give a savory impression—ripe tannins with vibrant acidity.
- W.O. Malgas | Red Blend 2018 | Sijnn Wines | DWA score: 90/100
Charla Haasbroek joined the team in 2014 after working for Kanonkop and Tokara. Sijnn Red blend is the flagship blend of mostly Mediterranean variety (e.g., Syrah 55 %, Trincadeira 17 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 14%, Mourvèdre 7%, Touriga Nacional 7%), showing spice, savory cured meat, licorice aromas alongside the black fruits and floral notes.
- W.O. Western Cape | Chardonnay – Pinot Noir Brut | N.V. | Boschendal | DWA score: 88/100
Danielle Coetsee, Cap Classique Winemaker Boschendal, was inspired by her uncle to be a winemaker with his tales of studying winemaking and viticulture from Elsenburg. Cap Classique showing a well-rounded creamy mouthfeel with lemon cream and biscuit.
As WoSA supports the wine industry by promoting export and facilitating wine tourism, you can see much information on diversified regions or multiple wine route options on its website, which is exciting. In this emerging wine region with an innovative mind, new producers with energy have taken an active role in the industry. We should keep an eye on this diversified wine region. On top of that, all the women stimulated us, and it was the perfect opportunity to think about the future on this beautiful day.
We thank WoSA and Pitch PR for the invitation and Margot and SAAM restaurant for their hospitality. There are 500 producers supported by WoSA, and each and every one of them is exciting to learn more about.
This event is covered by our own Kazumi Uejo.