Johst Weber always had the aim that by the time he was forty he would start a venture of his own, something he could be truly passionate about.
A second generation mining engineer in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, he was an executive at the ThyssenKrupp Group, responsible for facility management. After ThyssenKrupp he started an energy contracting business which provides cost-effective energy solutions, and operates in Germany and the USA.
With his passion for wine, acquiring a wine estate was an obvious choice. Farms in the more established areas were too pricey and then he heard about a farm that might be for sale outside Stanford — not a known wine-growing area of any note although estates in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley nearby were already very highly regarded.
Visiting the farm, he found it was occupied by a few cows and goats, and a solitary old man. The rest was wilderness, but there was a productive spring and a limestone ridge ran through the property which made it ideal for vines.
So, in 1995, he bought Springfontein with a group of friends, retaining the majority share. The first vines were planted in 1998, while the first vintage was in 2005.
Vines cover only a minor share of the more than 500ha property, however, the vineyards are made up of 80% red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Shiraz, Pinotage and Merlot, and 20% white varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Chardonnay. The focus, however, shifts more and more towards the two typical South African varieties: Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.
The appointment Tariro Masayiti as winemaker and Hildegard Witbooi as Horticulturist and Vineyear Manager started a new and very exciting chapter on the estate. Additionally, the arrival of Jurgen & Susanne Schneider from Germany to open a restaurant on the estate has made Springfontein one of the most compelling destinations in the area. Farm accommodation in the Milkwood forest add to the exquisite experience Springfontein has to offer.