As South Africa's wine industry has emerged from the apartheid era, Rust en Vrede has provided an example of excellence, and proprietor Jean Engelbrecht has served as a gregarious leader for his fellow vintners.
Like South African wine itself, Rust en Vrede has a long history, producing wine in Stellenbosch for 300 years. But when Jean's father, Jannie Engelbrecht, a rugby star, purchased the estate in the 1970s, it was languishing, as South Africa churned out bulk wines for domestic consumption. Jannie focused on quality, creating a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. When Nelson Mandela accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, he selected Rust en Vrede as the wine to be poured at the celebratory dinner.
Jean took the reins in 1998. While continuing improvements at Rust en Vrede, he also looked outward. In 1999, he helped golfer Ernie Els, a boyhood friend, start his own winery in Stellenbosch. Engelbrecht has been a leader in the arduous effort to break into new markets around the world. His Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch 1996 made Wine Spectator's Top 100 in 2000. Engelbrecht is a shining example of how much one man can contribute to an entire country's wine industry.
Watch our Jean Engelbrecht Wine Star video