At Bosman Adama we don’t just grow grapes, we grow people too, and it is often the women who make us proud. Sure, we have female winemakers, but behind the scenes there are many women, born and bred on the farm, who started out as vineyard workers but in a few short years have moved up into positions of responsibility.


Monique Appollis (38), Technical Vineyard Assistant Manager

“After school I started working on the farm because that was all the work there was. But then I started to see how my work in the vineyards affected the quality of the grapes we harvested. So I worked harder, and I was given more responsibility and today I manage the teams that work in the vineyards.”

“After school I started working in the vineyards with everyone else,” begins Monique. “The work didn’t really interest me; it was just a job. But then I joined a group of older women working with the young vines. They were experienced and I got to learn from them how to trellis a vine. I learnt how my work could make a difference to the quality of the grapes in the end.” From there Monique was appointed as a supervisor to a group of women: “It was difficult because I had to manage people older than me, but the farm management saw my potential and I had to do myself proud.” Monique quickly moved to line manager and for the last three years she has been the Assistant Manager, to Technical Manager Dan Swart, with three groups of women in her charge.

“This is the first harvest that I have managed the vineyards completely on my own. From pruning and suckering all the way to harvesting, these healthy grapes are my handiwork, and I am very proud because we have not had any disease and the yields are very good,” she continues, honouring Dan for his mentorship, but at the same time declaring her ambition to become a manager too someday. 

“If you love what you do then the result will be great.”


Leandra Appollis (40), Line Manager: Grafted Cuttings

Early on my manager gave me extra responsibility because he said he could trust me and the workers respected me. I like my job and I am proud of myself.”

Born and bred on the farm, it was a natural progression for Leandra to join the harvest pickers after school. But she particularly liked working with the grafted cuttings. Jannie Bosman saw her potential and started giving her more responsibility: “He said he could trust me and rely on me and that I had the respect of the other workers and was good with discipline.” So it was not surprising when the workers nominated her as their line manager, a job she has been doing with dedication for 12 years now. During the summer months her team takes care of the grafted cuttings in the fields, and then in the winter she and her team move into the warehouse to manage the grafting and classing processes.

“I like my job and I am proud of myself.”


Andreas Samuels (29) Tractor Driver

On the Bosman farm we have found that women are generally much better drivers. They are more careful, and more intuitive so we don’t have many accidents, tyres last longer and the soil is not compacted by reckless driving. “I enjoy driving. Now I want to learn to drive a big truck.”

Technical Manager Dan Swart realised that training women to drive tractors was a sustainable move: “Women are generally much better drivers. They are more careful, and more intuitive so we don’t have as many costly accidents, the tyres last longer and their careful driving is better for the soil as they don’t cause as much compaction or erosion.”

Four years ago, Andreas was working in the vineyards when PD Bosman singled her out for a two-day tractor driver’s course. Having never driven any vehicle in her life, she amazed even herself by passing first time. “I struggled in the beginning but now I enjoy it,” she says, happy also with the wage increase that goes along with the licence. “Now I want to learn to drive something else, like a big truck,” she says. “I think I am ready for the challenge.”


Mariaan Samuels (39) Nursery Tunnel Manager

“As Tunnel Manager my job carries great responsibility because I am dealing with very delicate plant material that needs consistent care to produce reliable results for the Nursery.

“I love my job. Every day is a challenge because aspects like the weather, disease and the soil health, impact my work. I am becoming a specialist, and I am proud of that.”

Like everyone else, Mariaan started out working in the vineyards, but her potential was soon spotted and she was appointed the manager of the Chemicals Store. “In those days,” she explains, “the workers just helped themselves to the various chemicals, but sometimes there were problems. So I was put in charge of keeping the store in order and handing out the various herbicides and pesticides so that we could make sure we were using the right products for their purpose and that the stock was kept under control.”

But one day Jannie Bosman came to her and said: “Mariaan, you’ve reached your ceiling here, I think you are ready for more responsibility.” And so Mariaan became the Tunnel Manager in the Bosman Adama Vine Nursery. There she looks after the new plants that are propagated in the laboratory. These can be new grape varieties or new rootstock varieties that are being trialled, but also can be plants that have been cleaned of virus. “It’s a very responsible job because I am dealing with very delicate plant material that needs consistent care to produce reliable results for the Nursery.”

“I love my job. Every day is a challenge because aspects like the weather, disease and the soil health, impact my work. I am becoming a specialist, and I am proud of that.”

Women Empowering Women - Amanda

Amanda Small (35) Quality Assistant

“My job is to receive all the dry goods like the labels and corks, and also to inspect the quality of everything we do in the warehouse.” 

“I love my job, and I learn so much every day. I can definitely see a future for myself here.”

The daughter of Bosman Adama vineyard workers, Amanda worked in a nearby factory after school. But soon, she realised that working on the farm was a better option so got a job in the warehouse cleaning bottles, sticking on seals, dipping bottle tops in wax and working on the labelling line. After a while she started helping Quality Manager Verna Ross with inspections. So when the business moved into larger premises, Amanda moved too and became the Quality Assistant, completing a six-month course in Quality Control and doing a few short courses along the way to upskill herself. “My job is to receive all the dry goods like the labels and corks, and also to inspect the quality of everything we do in the warehouse.” 

“I love my job, and I learn so much from Verna. I can definitely see a future for myself here.”

Women Empowering Women - Nichole

Nichole van Wyk (26) Production Clerk

“I have learnt so much about what goes into producing a wine. It is such a complicated process! People just see wine in a bottle, but they don’t think about the bottles and labels and screwcaps and all the other dry goods that need to be ordered. But there is still so much for me to learn!

Nichole’s family has lived for generations on the Bosman Adama farm, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to follow the same route after school so completed a six-month Job Readiness programme through local NPO First Step. “After that I joined Radio KC as a volunteer and helped with administration work and compiling the news. I loved that job and realised I was good at administration so I registered for the Management Assistant course at Boland College, doing my 18-month internship in the Logistics office at Bosman Adama.” Recently Nichole was appointed to a permanent position as Production Clerk where she is responsible for the complex documentation process involved in making wine.

“I have learnt so much about what goes into producing a wine,” she continues. “It is such a complicated process! People just see wine in a bottle, but they don’t think about the bottles and labels and screwcaps and all the other dry goods that need to be ordered. There is still so much for me to learn,” says this organised dynamo who has declared her next ambition is to study Supply Chain Management.

Women Empowering Women - Jody-Ann

Jody-Ann Appollis (35) Export Clerk

“I like my work. It’s especially challenging when there is a crisis or a late order and I have to jump around to solve the problems and get the order out. It’s so rewarding to get the job done, even under pressure.”

After school Jody-Ann spent a year at Boland College studying to be a Management Assistant. But money was tight so she started working on the farm and later on moved into the cellar and became the Store Manager. The farm agreed to fund the remainder of her studies which she completed part-time. Once qualified Jody-Ann became the Logistics Assistant, but with the move to a larger production cellar, Jody-Ann was recently promoted to Export Clerk. 

“I like my work. It’s especially challenging when there is a crisis or a late order and I have to jump around to solve the problems and get the order out. It’s so rewarding to get the job done, even under pressure.”

Jody-Ann has served on the Fairtrade Management Committee for five years now, a position that has involved much training in systems and structures, as well as the responsibility of deciding how funds are spent. Her dedication was rewarded a few years ago when she was chosen to represent South Africa at an International Fairtrade Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.



Visiting a Cape wine farm is a multi-layered, interactive experience and it’s definitely not just about the wines. In fact, wine itself is not just about the wine, and that is what makes tasting wine such a fascinating and enriching experience.

Bosman Vineyards

Essentially, wine is simply grape juice fermented with yeast, but then that doesn’t explain why there are so many wine farms selling so many bottles of red and white wines, each with their own label. That’s where that fancy French word ‘terroir’ (pronounced tear-wahr’, with the accent on the last syllable and rolling all the “r’s”) comes in. This term refers to all the environmental factors that affect the wine that eventually ends up in your glass. Every vineyard on earth has its own unique ‘terroir’ because each vineyard has its own unique combination of soil, microclimate, slope, aspect, clone and rootstock. Hence a Chenin Blanc vineyard on one side of Wellington, could produce a wine that tastes totally different from a Chenin Blanc grown on the other side of the village. The winemaker’s challenge is to get the signature of that ‘terroir’ to be expressed authentically in the wine in your glass. The wine taster’s challenge is to figure out where the wine comes from.

Bosman Chenin Blanc sitting on a wall

Added to that there is the complexity of human nature. We each have different tastes and preferences, and our senses respond differently. Some people like big wooded red wines, others like crisp, fresh whites – there is no right or wrong. 

Then of course, wineries are not just about the wines they offer, it is the whole experience of the visit that matters from the heritage of the farm, the décor in the tasting room, the activities on offer, the experience of the staff and the quality of the service.

Best Wineries in South Africa - tasting room

That is why pinpointing the ‘Best Wineries in South Africa’ is such a tricky task, because it depends so much on who’s asking.

For a tourist, the best wine in South Africa could easily come from a tiny, hard-to-reach cellar which is not open to the public, so in their terms, this would not be considered a ‘best winery’.

For a top end, fine dining restaurant, acquiring the same wine to list on their bespoke wine list, the sommelier could put this very same winery on his or her ‘best’ list.

Bosman Adam with a glass of wine

Similarly, it’s hard to pinpoint where is the best wine area in South Africa. Traditionally, Stellenbosch is considered the best wine region, but the reasons for this are mostly historic. True, the ‘terroir’ in the Stellenbosch region, which is predominantly mountainous terrain with a relatively good rainfall and moderate climate, is able to produce some of the country’s best wines, but that doesn’t mean all this region’s wines are good.

Some of the best wines in South Africa hail from places where the climate is not ideal. The Swartland is much hotter and drier than Stellenbosch, yet several standout wines have been grown and made there, and in many places in between.

However, it’s really interesting tasting wines from different regions and trying to figure out what their salient features are. While the Cape generally enjoys a Mediterranean climate, there are hotter, drier regions, like Paarl, Wellington and even hotter further north east like Worcestor and Robertson, but take a drive along the south-eastern coast and you’ll find areas such as the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Agulhas where temperatures are much cooler.

Bosman Rosé being poured into a wine glass

The aforementioned Swartland is also warm but cools down as you get closer to the West Coast producing wines that smack of the sea and express the desolation of that rugged coastline.

The Cape Winelands stretches from north of Vredendal on the West Coast down past Saldanha and Darling towards Cape Town. It then follows the coast through the Overberg and further south towards the chilly southern tip of Africa at Agulhas moving towards Mossel Bay. The border then turns inland, in line with the climatic zone, up past Oudtshoorn and the Klein Karoo area. But the heart of the Cape Winelands remains the Boland (meaning ‘high land’ because it is higher than the coastal regions). This area incorporates the towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington but then also stretches over the Drakenstein Mountains to Worcestor, Robertson, Montagu, Villiersdorp across to the Breede River Valley. Essentially these wine farms are distributed along the Breede and Berg River Valleys.

This area is ideally suited to wine production because of its Mediterranean climate, and mountain slopes and valleys which create the ideal terroir for grape growing. Long, dry, sun-drenched summers followed by mild, wet winters are what the grape vine needs to thrive.

Mountains and Hills of Vineyards

So wine has been produced at the Cape continuously thanks to the Huguenots and their descendents. It enjoyed much success in the Napoleonic wars the British turned to the Cape for their wines as the French were no longer on offer, and it suffered extreme losses when the vineyards were decimated by phylloxera in the 1880s but found it’s feet again in the early 20th century with the advent of co-operative wineries. It limped through apartheid inspired sanctions, but it was only in 1994, at the birth of democracy in South Africa, that the winery industry started thriving. Numerous small wineries opened up, offering interesting boutique wines with attractive labels which caught the attention of consumers worldwide. Today wine exports are around 300 million litres produced by around 2 500 farmers on roughly 90 000 hectares of land. This translates into over 1 million tons of grapes or just under 1 million litres of wine involving the employment of some 2 500 farmers and their extensive working communities.

Best Wineries in South Africa - Grapes being Harvested

The South African wine industry is under-pinned by various organisations. On the educational side, aspirant winemakers can study at Elsenburg, the University of Stellenbosch and the Cape Provincial University of Technology. These institutions also conduct extensive research which progresses the entire industry. There is also a Wine & Spirit Board that certifies wines therefore ensuring a standard of quality and traceability.

Wine producers fall into various categories including wholesalers, co-operatives, estates and wineries. Wholesalers buy in grapes or ready-made wine from various producers, whereas co-operatives make wine from grapes supplied by their member farms. 

Under the original legislation, an estate must be one contiguous piece of land. Traditionally, an estate wine was considered the best wine, because the winemaker had control over the production of the grapes. But over time wine farmers have bought land in various regions, so although not technically an estate, they still have the control over their various vineyards.

Bosman Family Vineyards is one such wine farm. It began in 1699 when the French Huguenots first arrived in the Bovlei of Wellington. The Bosman Family have been producing wines in the original cellar since 1810 but their operation has spread beyond the borders of their original farm. Over the generations, their wine growing operation has extended their vineyards along the slopes of the Groenberg Mountain, and they have acquired land on the opposite side of Wellington, in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde and in the Voor-Paardeberg where an additional cellar, named Schoon, also vinifies grapes.

Best Wineries in South Africa - Bosman Vineyards

So Bosman wines are made solely from grapes grown on their properties. The various farms allow the Bosmans to cultivate grapes in the terroir best suited to that cultivar.

In addition, the Bosmans own the largest vine nursery in South Africa and their own Plant Improvement Facility where plant pathologists propagate clean material to produce healthy grapes for the entire industry. So in terms of provenance, Bosman Wines can trace their origins back to cell level.

Best Wineries in South Africa - Vines being grown

Bosman Family Vineyards could also be considered the best winery in South Africa, it even has an award to prove it. Late last year, this winery was awarded the Platter Guide’s Editor’s Choice:  Winery of the Year 2024 which recognized this winery for its track record of top scoring wines, but also as a role player in the industry, setting the bar high for its inclusive business model where the workers own 26% of the business, as well as its regenerative farming practices where 28% of the land is under conservation management and encouraging biodiversity is paramount.

Best Wineries in South Africa - Platters Award

So back to the question of the best winery. Perhaps start at Bosman and work your way around: pick a route, pick a day, gather some friends and venture forth. It’s bound to be entertaining, challenging, fun and interesting.

Orange wine: legend or fad?

Orange wine: legend or fad?

Orange Wine - Bosman Fides Grenache 2019
Bosman Fides Grenache Blanc 2019.

It is an ancient winemaking method that produces a really interesting, textural wine. This particular winemaking method dates back to about 6000 BC in present-day Georgia. The bunches of white grapes were crushed and then naturally fermented on the skins in large clay amphora (qvevri) which were sealed and buried underground to control the temperature. The fermentation on the skins gives the wine its colour, but also its texture and composite flavours.

Being an adventurous winemaker with an enquiring mind, Corlea Fourie was eager to try out this technique. So every harvest, she would set aside some Chenin Blanc grapes and ferment them naturally and on the skins. But sadly, it never worked. One year, she resolutely decided to give it one last go, but this time used Grenache Blanc grapes instead. The result was a delicious amber wine with complex aromatics including ginger biscuit, tangerine peel, bruised fruit and complex savoury notes.

Orange Wine - Corlea Fourie
Corlea Fourie

Today this wine is called Fides, which means ‘trust’ or ‘faith’ in Latin, because it is a fine example of the trust relationship needed between winemaker and nature. It reflects the conviction and the hope of the winemaker to realise the beautiful potential hidden within nature’s bounty. Establishing the delicate relationship to tease out the best, explore the possibilities and honour ancient traditions takes persistence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, experience and care, but most of all trust. Bosman Fides is a celebration of that trust.