When their father lost his job, the Brutus sisters and their brother were separated. Two decades later, they reunited to change their destiny. As part of Food For Mzansi’s 2023 Faces of Summer campaign, Vivian Brutus, the winemaker at Seven Sisters Vineyards, shares what their award-winning winery has in store for this festive season.
The story of Seven Sisters Vineyards is one of how a family of seven sisters and one brother overcame great adversity. When the siblings’ father lost their job and family home, they were all separated into pairs of two to live with relatives.
Twenty years later, they reunited and began working towards their vision of creating a family-owned wine farm. Today, Seven Sisters Vineyards stands as one of the first and few 100% black-owned wine farms in the heart of the Winelands. At the helm is Vivian Brutus.
Facilities to be proud of
“We welcome both international and domestic travellers to participate in wine tastings and wine and food combinations.
“We welcome both international and domestic travellers to join us for wine tastings and wine and food pairings,” she explains. “Ten years on, we have developed the site, established our vineyards and constructed our
a tasting room, restaurant, and wine storage facility,” she explains.
Seven Sisters Vineyards remains a family-owned and operated winery. The Brutus family reserve wines were produced in 2016 in partnership with nearby vineyards, alongside grapes from their own farm’s vineyards.
“For the past three years, we have been regrafting the Pinotage grape into the Shiraz vines because we have always wanted to have the Pinotage grape varietal on the farm,” she says.
Fruity and bubbly
Brutus is a proud brand owner and emphasises that women of colour are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to. “I would love women out there to recognise the power they possess in realising their dreams,” she says proudly.
For the summer holidays, Brutus’ first selection is the Seven Sisters Chenin Blanc, produced according to the personality of sister Lutwena. She explains that the grape is indigenous to the Robertson Valley. Vines are cultivated in deep, chilly alluvial soil that is rich in lime and receives barely 280 mm of annual rainfall.
The vines are grown on riverbanks in a row direction from northwest to southeast to take advantage of the prevailing sea breeze, cooling the fruit and extending the ripening period to develop concentrated flavours in the grapes. Fermentation occurred over 18 days in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks at 13 degrees Celsius.
A close runner-up: Moscato Perlé
Her second choice is a Seven Sisters Moscato Perlé, dedicated to last-born sister Odelia. The bush vines are established in mostly dry ground and sparsely irrigated. Until bottling, the wine is filtered and held in stainless steel tanks.
“It is clean with a slight bubble on top. The best way to discover a wine is to drink and enjoy it or visit the Winelands, book your trip, and indulge in some wine tasting,” she says.
The hue is a light golden shade with a lovely cascade of bubbles. Initially, a subtle aroma with a pleasantly perfume-like scent and muscat aromas. This fruit-forward wine carries notes of honeysuckle, green grapes, lemon tones, and luscious peach undertones. It is best enjoyed while still young and fresh.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.