Winemaker Kelly-Marie Jacobs has been appointed as Zonnebloem’s white winemaker, and while her connection to Stellenbosch has always run deep it was a magazine article about winemaker Debbie Thompson (now cellar master at Simonsig) which sparked her interest.
“I always wanted to be an actress. I have 10 years of speech and drama experience! But when I read the article about Debbie, I immediately knew that winemaking was my true calling,” says Kelly-Marie Jacobs. “I have learned since and through my travels that food and wine really bring people together. It’s a shared moment of pleasure that fuels conversation and envelopes you in a blanket of sensory bliss. This together with the inspiration from winemakers who never stop experimenting and innovating to shape the wine industry and bring the full potential of the vines to life has become the centre of all that I do.”
Kelly-Marie obtained a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University and worked for four years from 2013 to 2016 at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. Here she worked under the Elsenburg Agricultural College where she harvested and lectured in the fields of Oenology, Biochemistry and Wine Marketing, and arranged exchange programmes with the CFPPA wine school in Beaune, France.
She joined the Zonnebloem team as Assistant White Winemaker towards the end of 2016 and her recent promotion to take lead responsibility for the white wines is both incredibly exciting and very humbling.
Here, she answers a few questions about herself:
What are you reading at the moment? Blackberry Wine, by Joanne Harris. I found the book in a second-hand shop in Riebeek Kasteel. I immediately fell in love with the novel when I read the opening line, which states, “Wine talks, everyone knows that…”
Nominate your 8th wonder of the world (person, place or experience) My Grandfather, who passed at the age of 92. He was the most hard-working man I have ever known, besides my Dad, of course! From a young age, he instilled so many core values and ethics into my life. He really believed in me and a lot of what he said about my future, has surprisingly come true. He was just a truly wonderful man!
Which phrase or word do you most overuse? When wine tasting – “Spit on the inside”
What was your first job? Promotional sales girl for VEET hair removal cream!
What is your biggest regret? To not waking up to my potential earlier in my life. I was very unsure of myself and sometimes felt very inadequate. It made me miss a few opportunities.
Tell us about a hidden gem in the Western Cape that not many people know about? A small winery nestled in a tiny nook of Constantia, called High Constantia Wine Cellar. They have the most scrumptious Cabernet Franc!