The DNA is care compassion and gender equality
CHRISTA von La Chevallerie is a trailblazer. She grew up on the family farm, Nuwedam in the Paardeberg Mountain, in the Swartland. By far the largest winemaking area in the country if not by volume. After matric, she took what was then an unheard-of gap year before deciding what she wanted to do with her life.
Visiting her relatives in Germany, and what was supposed to be a short visit, turned a study stay. She was drawn to the craft and science of winemaking.
She ultimately completed an honours degree in viticulture and oenology at Hochschule Geisenheim University on the banks of the Rhine in Riesland country.
More about Christa
Fascinated by sparkling wines, she had visited and or studied in several countries. She visited the Ferrari Vineyards in Italy, champagne in France, California’s Nappa Valley and the old vineyards of Priorat Spain. She returned home in 1999 after eight years away. Christa was a rarity in the male dominated South African Wine industry.
Starting at the bottom, she did her apprenticeship on the Kaapzicht. Then Steenberg wine estates, gradually moving up the ladder. In 2002, her home farm Nuwedam brought her the opportunity to start her work on 25ha of the old vines farm in the Swartland. Only after work and on weekends.
“I did it in the dark, at night, over the phone and weekends.” She told guests at an exclusive wine tasting at Johannesburg’s Gallery 2 in Parkwood on Thursday 29 September 2022. This event was held to celebrate executive talent search agency pinpoint one’s birthday celebrations.
After 12 years, literally moonlighting on the family farm, she decided to do it full time. She gave up her day job and moved to the farm, starting her own brand of Methode Cap Klassiek or Kaap Klassiek and wines. As the range expanded, from Chenin blanc Cap Classique to Italian inspired Rosecco pinotage, she ventured back into wine. Making the first certified old heritage wine in the world.
But in 2018, she came to a crossroads because the family received an offer for Nuwedam farm. Which her late father had bought in 1958. Accepting the offer freed Von la Chevallerie to venture into new fields, literally, moving to Kasteelberg in Riebeeck Kasteel.
There she continued, carefully selecting grapes from the different winemaking regions. And continuing with the Filia label, she and her sister had created.
Then the pandemic struck
“COVID 19 was difficult it was a challenge for survival, it was good and it was bad. It was a time to rethink.”
Part of that process is to remain true to the boutique nature of her wine and champagne making and to continue to innovate.
“What I do is a niche market. I like to focus on my clients and go directly to them, not through it all at bottle stores. I’m selling our story, when I sell the wine. it’s an emotion. I really do believe there is a market for exclusivity and luxury.”
It’s something that struck a chord with pinpoint one founder Clive Viveiros.
“I met Christa earlier this year when I was touring the winelands on holiday with a friend. We made an appointment to do a wine tasting at her house and her story just really resonated with me.”
Von La Chevallerie laughs: “It was three bottles of bubbly and four bottles of wines later, it was a lekker kuier.
“For me, Christa’s story has so many parallels with pinpoint one’s. Our company is female owned and proudly South African and so is Huis Van Chevallerie. Christa overcame so many obstacles. From discrimination to downright prejudice to become a phenomenally respected winemaker at an established estate. Before venturing out and starting her own label,” says Viveiros.
“Hearing how she makes wines for discerning tastes and a very exclusive market of clients. Clients that are almost friends. I knew that she would be the perfect fit to celebrate entering our 24th year in business with care and compassion. This by showcasing her wines to our key clients, both corporates and C-suite placements – and telling her story in the process.”
Giving back and lifting as you rise are two critical strands of pinpoint one’s DNA, says managing director Lucia Mabasa. The company is always doing what it can to create a more inclusive society such as gender equality.
“We’ve been involved in supporting the arts since 2002. This when we partnered with Artist Proof Company in Newtown to help develop local talent and introduce them to the arts investor community. We’ve sponsored artists and helped them host their first solo exhibitions.
“Most recently, thanks to Clive’s vision, we launched the #LoveMeLoveMyFrog campaign. The purpose is to reach out to those struggling in the wake of COVID 19. A tangible celebration of the anniversary of pinpoint one’s founding on May 1, 1999. Partnering with Christa as she starts to reach out once more beyond the Swartland after the pandemic. Getting to understand her journey as we did, it just made perfect sense to invite her to be part of our ongoing birthday celebrations. Also to introduce her to people we think would really benefit from knowing her.”