Legend of Frans Malan alive and well as Simonsig turns 50

Top image: Frans Malan in the vineyard at Simonsig

Regular attendees of wine events will have experienced an inspired winemaker or marketer stating that “wine is made in the vineyard”. Which is, with respect, becoming a bit of a cliché.

The role of the human hand in making wine can never be underestimated. As Duimpie Bayly, a true South African wine legend and former head of production for Stellenbosch Farmers Winery says: “Wine might be made in the vineyard, but I’ve never seen a horse winning the Durban July without a jockey.

I was reminded of Duimpie’s words when celebrating the 50th anniversary of Simonsig Estate’s wine brand with the second and third generation of the Malan family, who currently own and manage this Stellenbosch property. Between the conviviality and the buckets of good wine, various speakers recounted Simonsig’s history, one which includes many firsts in the South African wine industry. It was evident that the history of Simonsig is inextricably linked to a man known as one of the sharpest jockeys the local wine industry has ever known, namely Frans Malan, the estate’s former owner who was responsible for getting the first Simonsig wines onto the market in 1968.

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