Rosa Kruger, the great-great granddaughter of late 19th-century South African independence leader and politician Paul Kruger, has an MA in communications and an LLB, and comes from “a family of lawyers and farmers”.
She prefers to call herself a vineyard manager rather than a viticulturist. Having grown up on a farm and wanting to give her young son the same experience, she exchanged a career in law (as a candidate attorney in Johannesburg in the 1990s) for a job as a farm manager in the Cape.
She started her ad hoc, on-the-job viticultural training by tapping into the knowledge of leading Stellenbosch University scientists Prof Eben Archer and Dawid Saayman, and Vergelegen vineyard expert Neil Rossouw “and learning so much from the people in the field”.
First living and working among the vineyards of cool-climate Elgin – she is now based in Riebeek-Kasteel in Swartland – she subsequently advised on such star properties as Cape Point Vineyards.
Besides championing the exploration of new viticultural areas and wine varieties to deliver South African-specific styles of wine, one of her special projects is the search, identification and testing of forgotten old South African vines to make top-end, distinctively South African wines.