Grande Provence has appointed accomplished winemaker Hagen Viljoen to head up the winemaking team at this landmark heritage wine estate in Franschhoek.
With experience spanning over 12 years in local and international cellars, Viljoen takes over the winemaking responsibilities at Grande Provence from Matthew van Heerden who has left to pursue his own wine interests.
A graduate in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch, Viljoen has travelled extensively to gain international knowledge in winemaking. He completed internships in diverse wine producing regions across the globe from Mendocino in the USA, to Marlborough in New Zealand, Barossa in Australia and St Emilion in France before returning to South Africa. Back on home soil, his mentorship continued at Vergelegen and Zevenwacht before his appointment as head winemaker at Solms-Delta in 2012 where he has honed his skills for the past five years.
“I have been very fortunate to work with some outstanding parcels of fruit sourced across the Cape winelands and welcome the new challenges at Grande Provence,” says Viljoen, who has a great passion for the northern Rhone and loves wines of purity and elegance.
“I am excited about the potential in the Grande Provence wine range and look forward to exploring its further development with the team. Franschhoek has fantastic Semillon, which would be interesting to possibly introduce into the signature The Grande Provence White blend,” he adds.
Viljoen recounts the 18/20 score from UK wine doyenne Jancis Robinson for Piekenierskloof Grenache, and receiving scores of 90+/100 for all 4 wines shown to Tim Atkin in his South African 2017 Special Report with 95 points awarded to Solms-Delta Amalie 2015, as career highlights.
He attributes his past achievements to teamwork using fruit from meticulously sourced vineyards, innovative blending and the constant pursuit to better express the characteristics of the grapes through the winemaking.
“For me balance is a key element in any great wine and I believe in translating the potential found in the vineyard in a manner that respects the fruit and reflects the character of its origin,” Viljoen concludes.
Wine is indelibly intertwined in his destiny, both personally and professionally. Viljoen, who grew up on a Ceres fruit farm, met his wife, Nicola, while they were both studying winemaking at Stellenbosch University. They started dating during his final year and today are the proud parents of 3-year old twin girls, Hannah and Kate. In his spare time, exploring wine, food and the great outdoors, ideally simultaneously with good friends and family, brings him immense joy.
More about Grande Provence wines
A wide range of signature wines are produced at The Winery at Grande Provence. In addition to the popular Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier/Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the estate’s flagship wines, The Grande Provence Red and Grande Provence White, enjoy wide critical acclaim. One of the new additions to the range, the Grande Provence Amphora, is a Chenin Blanc based blend from one of the oldest vineyards in Franschhoek. Fermented in four 400 litre Tuscan clay amphorae capturing over 6 000 years of winemaking history harking back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the aromatic and ultra-elegant Grande Provence Amphora has set a new bench mark for this style of wine. More recently, Grande Provence added a new intriguing Zinfandel to its range of reds and there are new additions to the Méthode Cap Classique range on the horizon. Grande Provence also produces the Angels Tears range; accessible, uncomplicated quality quaffers that are easy on the palate and great value for money. In the hands of new winemaker Hagen Viljoen, this Franschhoek boutique winery holds great promise of new things to come.