/ Home / Estate News

The Sparkling History of the Malan Family and Simonsig

Laying the Groundwork

1942 – The van Niekerk family acquires the original farm.

1953 – Founder Frans Malan starts farming after marrying Liza van Niekerk.

1964 – Frans Malan purchases the land from his in-laws and expands the farm.

1964 – A modern, cold-fermentation cellar is built, making it the first of its kind for a private cellar in South Africa.

Released to the World

1968 – The first wine under the Simonsig label is released – a Chenin Blanc (Steen) – along with a Riesling and Clairette blanche.

1970 – Simonsig’s first red wine, a Pinotage, is released.

Cap Classique is Born

1971 – Frans Malan pioneers the first bottle-fermented sparkling wine (now known as Cap Classique) in South Africa, and the legendary Kaapse Vonkel is born. In the same year, he co-founds the Stellenbosch Wine Route, another first of its kind in South Africa, and opens Simonsig’s doors to the public.

1973 – With the establishment of the Wine of Origin scheme, Simonsig is declared one of the first wine estates in South Africa.

1977 – Simonsig Cabernet Sauvignon wins the Grand Champion Trophy at the SA National Wine Show.

1979 – The on-site creche and after-school program are established.

The Second Generation Steps In

1980-81 – Frans Malan’s three sons, Johan, Francois and Pieter, join Simonsig.

1984 – Johan Malan is invited to join the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild.

1990 – The maiden vintage of Tiara, Simonsig’s flagship blend, is released.

1992 – Johan Malan becomes the first chairperson of the Cap Classique Producers Association, with Simonsig as a co-founding member.

1994 – South Africa enters a new era with the dawn of democracy, and the Frans Malan Cape Blend joins the portfolio.

1997 – The maiden vintage of Redhill Pinotage and Merindol Syrah is released.

1999 – The launch event for Cuvée Royale takes place on top of Table Mountain to celebrate the new millennium.

2003 – Frans Malan passes away.

2016 – The Grapesmith collection joins the Simonsig portfolio.

2020 – Johan Malan is named Diners Club Winemaker of the Year.

50 Years of Kaapse Vonkel

2021 – 50 years of Kaapse Vonkel and Cap Classique are celebrated with the introduction of the iconic Satin Nectar packaging.

A New Era Begins

2022 – Third-generation Michael Malan, Johan’s son, takes the reins as cellar master.

2023 – Simonsig’s first old vine wine, Langbult Steen, is released in Simonsig’s 55th vintage.