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Kanu Wines


The wines below are represented by Sovereign Selection in the United States.


Kanu Wines History
  • The farm Nooitgedacht was established in 1692 and was awarded to Matthias Greef from Magdeburg, Germany by Simon van der Stel. At that time he used the land for sheep farming. He was also an amateur herbalist who treated his own slaves and the local population.
  • 1718 the farm was transferred to Jan Albert Loubser, whose widow, Sibella Passman, later got married to Jacob Cloete. The Cloete-Passman family crest can still be seen in the Moederkerk at Stellenbosch.
  • Jacob and Sibella's son, Hendrik Cloete, became the owner in 1761. He was a well-known winemaker and one of the richest farmers in the area. He built the Slave bell in 1769 and the H-shaped Cape Dutch Manor House in 1774.
  • He bought Groot Constantia in 1778 and was responsible for building the Groot Constantia Cellar in 1791 and the Groot Constantia Manor House in 1793. After his wife died, he moved back to Nooitgedacht where he lived until his death in 1799.
  • Nooitgedacht remained the property of the Cloete family until 1844, when it was sold to Michiel Ackermann Neetling, who sold it to Jan Marthinus Beyers 5 years later.
  • In 1892 the farm was bought by the Rhodes Trust, which was later known as Rhodes Fruit Farms Ltd. Rhodes wanted to prove that fruit farming could be performed just as well in the Boland as wine farming. This was at the time when a big Filloksera outbreak threatened the future of wine farming in South Africa. For this reason Rhodes employed Mr. H.E.V. Pickstone, an Englishman who studied fruit farming in California to select a number of good farms that were suitable for growing fruit. Farms with old beautiful homes had an advantage to be selected="true". Nooitgedacht, together with Boschendal, Bien Donnè, Lekkerwyn and Vredenburg then became the property of Cecil John Rhodes. Rhodes chose Nooitgedacht as a home for himself.
  • During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) Nooitgedacht was used as a horse supply camp where hundreds of horses and a tented camp were housed. A hospital was also erected. The section of the farm, known today as Kanu, was used was used as a rifle range, where English soldiers would shoot target in the hill's valley.
  • In 1923 Nooitgedacht was bought by Mr. Fritz Otto Wirth, who was born in Germany. After his death in 1940 his sister inherited the farm. She died in 1954 and left the farm in trust for Fritz Herman Werner Wirth who is currently still the owner.
  • Over the years portions of the original Nooitgedacht farm was sold and renaimed by there new owners.
  • Larry Jacobs bought a portion of the farm Nooitgedacht, then called Eendevlei, from Mr Anton Bredell in 1989, This former intensive care doctor acquired this farm, which the community referred to the property as "vuilplasie" meaning "dirty little farm". It was terribly neglected and unfarmed, containing just a few dilapidated buildings. However, its rich soil had lain fallow for almost a century.
  • It was in this earth that one of the Cape's most successful partnerships turned Mulderbosch around. Winemaker Mike Dobrovic, better known as Mr. Sauvignon Blanc SA, joined Larry and together they cleaned up the property and planted the first vineyards. A cellar was later built and Mike set about creating the first wines - a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. Little did they know that the wines that they would produce would attract glowing accolades and a clutch of awards, as well as a surge of international orders.
  • In 1996 Larry sold the farm to a major Pretoria based group called Hydro Holdings. Mike stayed on ensuring that none of the magic would disappear from Mulderbosch wines. The new owners, Hydro Holdings, could not be more enthusiastic and supportive. A new, state- of-the-art bottling line was among the improvements that were immediately made to the cellar, as well as extensions to the existing facilities.
  • Kanu Wines were grown and produced on the Goedgeloof farm, nestled in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. The property once formed a part of the original Spier Wine Estate, granted to a German soldier by Cape governor Simon van der Stel in 1692.
  • In 1997, Goedgeloof was purchased by Hydro Holdings (also owner of the renowned Mulderbosch Vineyards) from longtime owners the Joubert family. The new proprietors subsequently embarked on a multi-million Rand revitalization of the estate. As part of the renovation and expansion, a state-of-the-art cellar was installed, complete with its own modern laboratory. It was here that the Kanu brand was born.
  • According to a veteran farm hand on Goedgeloof, kanu was a mythical bird of promise. the creature’s appearance in the african skies signaled the blessings of a bountiful harvest for all those who fell under its shadow. the wines of kanu celebrate this traditional african legend.
  • As Kanu's first winemaker, renowned Chenin Blanc guru Teddy Hall established the estate’s global reputation as a pioneer of award-winning, world class Chenin. The next Kanu cellar master, Richard Kershaw, was an Englishman and former chef, who had also worked as assistant winemaker at Mulderbosch under the legendary Mike Dobrovic before assuming Kanu’s chief winemaking role in 2003.
  • South African winemaker Johan Grimbeek joined Kanu's winemaking team in 2002. Johan was born with the passion to create wine that has been privy to numerous awards nationally as well as internationally. It is through Johan that the proud tradition of excelling with our Chenin Blanc’s continues, although more of such are being added. Johan Grimbeek, who had been Kanu’s winemaker since 2004, was appointed Cellar Master of Kanu, while Richard Kershaw stayed behind with Mulderbosch.
  • Late 2009, early 2010 ushered in a new era in the history of Kanu and sister winery Mulderbosch with Managing Director (and former shareholder) Ben Truter and his family trust taking control of both camponies, Mulderbosch and Kanu Vineyard.
  • Late 2010, early 2011, the Ben Truter Trust sold the Mulderbosch brand, with the Goedgeloof farm, to American investors, thus relocating Kanu to the previously known farm Mulderbosch. Ben wanted to refocus his energy on quality red and white wines that the brand has been known for over the years, in order to renovate and re-establish the Kanu wines.
  • The relocation gave Kanu access to the former Mulderbosch farm known for its terrior and ever present cool air from the Indian Ocean. More than 40% of the new Kanu farm is left to natural vegetation. Over the last 10 years Mike Dobrovic only used natural bio diverse practises on the farm to improve the quality of the soil.

Family Tree

The Truter Family Tree

Now, as you may know by now, Kanu is a family affair. So here is a little short version of our family tree. Kanu Wines is owned by our family trust (the "Ben Truter Family Trust" to be exact), with Ben Truter is the MD of Kanu Wines (Who also happens to be my dad). His father, Jan Hendrik Truter (aka "oupa Jan"), was the founder of the "Ben Truter Family Trust".

I have an older, more beautiful sister, Gizelle (Truter) Burke who works for a very famous advertising agent. She is married to Conrad Burke (famous as one of the Boland Rugby team's previous captains). They have two children, John (3) and Amelie Burke (1) who can steal your heart with one glimpse. There is absolutely no one in the family that won't take a bullet for these two. Their third child in on the way.

For those who don't know, I am Monique (Truter) Burn, married to Kyle Burn (an "Englishman" from Durban, who not only holds the record for long jumping in Kokstad, but is one of the best chefs you will ever meet). We may not have 'human' children yet, but we do have 4 (sometimes 5) canine children. And as you already know, I work full-time on Kanu, doing the export market. Among other things...

And then I have a younger brother, Zahn Truter who is currently finishing his degree in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch. Even as a kid, he always wanted to work as a winemaker. I mean... which kid wants to make wine and work with vineyards at the age of 6?

He did his first internship and harvest for 6 months at Tokara, which he enjoyed intensely. The first part he worked with Aiden Morton. Tokara's famous viticulturist, which opened a whole new world for him. And then he spent the rest of his stay grafting away under the brilliant Miles Mossop.

As he graduates at the end of 2013, he has decided to go around the world learning how to make wine from the best. His first stop in 2014... New Zealand! We are so proud of Zahn. He got offered a position as a harvest intern at the multi award winning Sileni Estates in Hawk's Bay. We are so excited to see what you will learn and (one day) bring home to Kanu.

The Kanu Way

Kanu aims to the topic of wine conversation; known for its passionate wines, impeccable service and investment in conservation.

Harmony is central to the Kanu philosophy, and the property was developed with strict attention to the environment. 25% of the estate has been dedicated to a conservancy, ensuring the preservation of indigenous vegetation and wildlife. Kanu is a proud member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI), a ground-breaking partnership between the South African wine industry and the conservation sector that aims to preserve the rich biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom. BWI members are committed to restoring and protecting the natural vegetation on their land, adopting better farming practices and sustaining healthy natural ecosystems.

It is here where Johan Grimbeek continues to put his unique stamp upon the quality and character of the wines which Kanu produce. In the Vineyards he works towards continually improving in environmentally friendly agricultural and vinification methods. We do this by using horse manure to enrich the soils, making better use of natural predators in fighting vineyard pest and correlating weather data with spraying programs.

Kanu strives to produce healthier wines with stronger personality and more beautiful aromas in the natural way it was intended to be.

Natural fermentation has always been part of the winemaking philosophy, and will continue in all barrel fermented wines. It is also being extended to tank fermented wines. We are also cognisant and sensitive in the use of fining agents used in the production of wine that causes various allergic reactions to consumers.

Winemaker talks to Johan Grimbeek from Kanu Wines in Stellenbosch, about their Kanu Chenin Blanc Unwooded