Falling in Love with Stark-Condé Wines
Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way. - Aristotle
During the Heian Period of Japan’s historied past, the ethical code of the Samurai, known as Bushido, began to take shape. Born of a need to temper the Samurai’s capacity for violence with sincerity, wisdom, patience and serenity; this code of moral principles was for the most part, an organic development. Unuttered and unwritten, it grew over decades to dictate the path of development of one’s spirit, their essence.
The journey, workings, and stories attached to the team behind Stark-Condé, MAN Family Wines and more recently Lievland is an exemplar of this way of life. By applying the founding principles of Stark-Condé to their later ventures, this family owned business is able to showcase a proud range of some of South Africa’s very best wines, made with some of its most loved varietals, from two of its most iconic terroirs. Stark-Condé's wines and culture revolve around patience, serenity, wisdom and acceptance - it's a small part of what makes them so special.
In 1989 Hans & Midori Schroder purchased a farm nestled in the now iconic Jonkerhoek Valley in Stellenbosch. South African history books were being revised as the end of Apartheid’s evil hold on South Africa fast approached. Raised in Stellenbosch, Hans had left South Africa in the 60s to attend university in Japan, where he met Midori and fell in love. The couple spent 25 years in Tokyo, raising their three beautiful daughters before returning to South Africa and purchasing ‘Oude Nektar’ (old nectar) farm.
Nestled between two mountain ranges, Stark-Condé's estate offers cool, high altitude vineyards; as well as shady pockets that slow down ripening times.
This 240-hectare farm offers incredible winemaking terroir. The deep/high Jonkershoek Valley’s soaring Hottentots-Holland mountains are over 600m high to the South-West and North-East of the farm, leading to restricted sunlight exposure and therefore slower ripening times in this unique cool-climate pocket of the Stellenbosch ward. Joined later by Hans’ daughter Marie and husband José, they launched Stark-Condé wines in 1998. José may have begun his wine journey with just three barrels of Cabernet and rudimentary equipment, but the estate is now better known as simply one of Stellenbosch’s absolute finest wine producers.
Mentor and Cellar Master José Condé stands with protégé and Winemaker Rudger Van Wyk at Stark-Condé
Of particular pride and interest is the journey of Winemaker Rudger van Wyk. Rudger has achieved a meteoric rise in the industry, born in 1991 he was nominated Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year in 2018 at just 27-years old – an age where most of us were still reminding ourselves to get to work on time. He studied at the University of Stellenbosch where he completed a BSc Agriculture: Viticulture and Oenology degree. As a Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé, he worked at several high-profile local wine estates, followed by a harvest in Burgundy before joining Stark-Condé Wines as assistant winemaker in 2016.
Nearly impossible to fit in one article, we have instead chosen to dedicate this week to Stark-Condé. Tune into next week’s continuation with MAN Family Wines & Lievland, as we continue to try our utmost to provide insight into the incredible planning, vision, and application to excellence that has ensured we need never go thirsty again.
Wines to look out for:
Stark-Condé Stellenbosh Syrah
Stark-Condé Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon
Stark-Condé The Field Blend
Continue your journey with these wines by tasting through the Mixed Case Offering: Click Here