Meet the team behind Skaap Wines. Winemaker – Riaan Oosthuizen. Farm Manager – Jaco Mouton. General Manager – Marie-helene Schaap.
Riaan Oosthuizen – Winemaker
With over 18 years experience and more than 20 award winning wines including Gold and Double Gold medals at both the Veritas and Michelangelo Competitions Riaan was the natural choice as winemaker for Skaap Wines. He previously worked at Durbanville Hills, Capaia Wines and Nitída before establishing Nomada, his own award winning wine label.
"I grew up on an ostrich farm in the Karoo (semi-desert climate). My father (ostrich farmer) always had a keen interest in wine, and was also a grape producer at the local cooperative wine cellar. He also made his own “house wine” in an old shed on the farm. When I was a child, I always used to taste these low quality wines and therefore did not like wine very much!
I went to Stellenbosch to study computer science, but after my first wine tour as a student to various wine farms on the Stellenbosch wine route, I changed my course after just two weeks to viticulture and winemaking. I guess the sight of lush green vineyards as far as one could see, and tasting the different flavours of different varieties and wine cellars got me hooked. It was a new world to me, there was actually good wines out there, and I wanted to learn all about it and make my own good wine!
Winemaking is about having the right attitude towards vines and nature. It’s about creating something special from raw materials, and the best thing for me is getting to create something new every vintage. I also love the fact that wine brings people together – my wife and I got better acquainted over a bottle of wine, and much better after the next one…!”
Jaco Mouton – Farm Manager
Jaco started his career at Simonsig, honing his skills under the tutelage of Frans Malan the ‘Father of Cap Classique’. He gained further experience at Slaley and Mount Rozier before starting his own viticultural consulting business.
“At Skaap we use as many natural products as possible, to work in harmony with nature. We choose not to irrigate and each vine gets individual attention to ensure perfect balance and the production of small berries with concentrated fruit flavours.
I believe wines should reflect where they come from and express the true character of their terroir; a culmination of unique characteristics including altitude, climate, aspect and soil.
Although not always the easiest, quickest or cheapest method of farming I’m convinced a natural, sustainable approach to vineyard management produces the best wine and is kindest to the environment.”
Marie-hélène Schaap – General Manager
Originally a hydrographic surveyor from the Netherlands, Marie-Helene (Thierry’s sister) worked all over the world before settling in South Africa with her partner, Ian. They now have two young sons who where both born here.
Marie-hélène manages Skaap Wines and the vineyards guest house Lalapanzi Lodge. She overseas all our farming activities, helps out with the running of the soup kitchen and is actively involved with Children’s Foodure.