Jan Harmsgat’s Amy Kleinhans-Curd launches brand new limited-edition MCC
Former beauty queen, philanthropist, education advocate, speaker and business woman, Amy Kleinhans-Curd is a powerhouse of ambition. One of her many endeavours is Jan Harmsgat Farm in Swellendam – which consists of a five-star country house, award-winning restaurant Just Amy, function facilities and a working wine farm. The farm recently launched its first MCC – Amelia Brut Rose – aboard the beautiful Barefoot yacht, a proud moment for Kleinhans-Curd and the JHG team. We asked her about the journey of creating this new offering.
What prompted the desire to create an MCC to add to the JHG portfolio?
To me, bubbly has always been associated with celebration and we have come this far with our beautiful wines, so it made perfect sense as an addition to what Jan Harmsgat wines stands for – the celebration of the old and new. As a business what prompted us to produce a higher-end MCC is the quality of the grapes – a portion of the vineyards are already harvested for another top MCC producer in South Africa and on the farm we have 12-year-old vineyards planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that were used to produce the Amelia Brut Rose.
What’s different about this MCC – what did you want to achieve with it?
What’s different about the Amelia is that it has a story to tell. The Amelia is the only MCC produced in the Swellendam area, where the farm is situated, a town that is incredibly rich in history and culture. It is always exhilarating to be brave enough to stand apart, as I did many years ago with my crowning as the first woman of colour to be chosen as Miss South Africa in 1992.
Tell me about the wine-making process – how did you work with the winemaker to realize your vision?
The grapes – a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – were picked early with low sugar levels in February 2016. We settled on a blend of 80 percent Chardonnay and 20 percent Pinot Noir as our base wine. The Amelia was then left in the bottle and on the lease where it lay for almost three years – in time to go to market for the 2020 summer season. We worked very hard together to come up with the desired label that was close to home – I paint, and the coastal scene on the bottle is one of my own works. Amelia is also my full first name, so this wine is really a very personal project for me and one close to my heart.
What was rewarding about the journey in creating this unique bottle of wine?
The most rewarding thing for me was, and is, that I get to continually share my celebration with anyone that experiences the Amelia MCC. The lessons learned along the way have allowed me a new appreciation for the process and the veracity of wine makers and how the small details create the bigger picture. The biggest lesson was patience, which I found out is essential to create a product of such high quality.
How does it fit into the company’s overall vision?
The first batch of a very limited release of 2 000 bottles was released just before the festive season. The Amelia was well accepted by the market and is listed at some top restaurants already. Having both Chardonnay and Pinot planted on the farm allows us an exciting opportunity to grow our MCC footprint from JHG in the future. The plan is to continue to strive to produce more volumes of Amelia while still achieving excellent quality.