Women in wine

- – Liza van Deventer

The daughter of fifth-generation Caledon wheat and sheep farmers, Danielle le Roux always knew she’d farm one day. Today, she is the winemaker at Guardian Peak in Stellenbos­ch, she convenes the Merlot tasting panels at the Veritas Awards and SA Young Wine Show, and is the chairperso­n of the Merlot Forum. And she’s a Cape Wine Master.

As soon as she was awarded her BSc Agric in Viticultur­e and Oenology, Danielle left South Africa to explore the ‘old’ (France and Italy) and the ‘new’ (California) worlds of wine, working her way around as a harvest winemaker. It was in France that her love of Merlot took root. Back home, she was inspired to create her signature Guardian Peak Merlot (R95), which is wonderful: velvety, soft and juicy. Opening a bottle with her husband, Jacques, in the evenings is her favourite part of the day, despite the fact that she loves her job.

A mother of two, Danielle is inspired by the women around her in the wine industry. ‘Women are open with their knowledge and advice, and we understand one another’s stress and worries best. It’s a tight-knit group that shares unselfishl­y and with joy.’

Her favourite wine? Château Pétrus, a Merlot by a small Bordeaux estate… priced at about R62 000 a bottle for the latest vintage [*chokes*]. Yep, probably good. Other (perhaps slightly more affordable) favourites? A Chenin Blanc, Donkiesbaa­i Steen (R265); and another Merlot, Shannon Mount Bullet (R465).

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