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The Perfect Serve

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Inspired by Heritage

www.sevensisters.co.za

Experiencing the Seven Sisters’ hospitality feels like walking into a warm and familiar home. This is unmistakably by design.

Located in the heart of the South African wine country, this experience leaves you with a deep sense that you have shared a piece of heritage with close family.

As Vivian Kleynhans(née Brutus) puts it “Our guests are served, like family, with the hospitality and soul food inherited from our heritage…” Vivian is the CEO, founder, and the 4th of the 7 Sisters. She has made it her mission to change the destiny of her family and leave a legacy for generations to come, which she is doing with unyielding determination, warmth, and grace. Many wine estates speak of heritage, but the Brutus family story is what sets this vineyard apart and Vivian’s story in particular, a single-minded purpose-driven journey of ensuring a family legacy lives on, is one to share.

How did you find yourself at the helm of bringing the family together and charting a path for a successful wine brand?

My childhood taught me many things. I developed a strong character with a resilient spirit and perseverance. We faced many trials and tribulations as a family, but it made me stronger even though I had the most vulnerable and gentle spirit as a child. Showing up every day became important no matter the circumstances.

As a child, I was curious about life and from a young age, my community looked to me to help and bring solutions to various problems. From a young age, I worried about food for my family and would find ways to make money and help the household.

The foundation of my life was laid growing up under the hands of my parents and community. My family identifies me as a compassionate sister and therefore would feel safe sharing their troubles and tribulations with me so I could help them find solutions. At the age of eighteen, my father lost his job at the fish factory of 25 years, and we were evicted from the 2-bedroom factory house. In one day, everything changed, and my life would never be the same again. We had no car and the only cattle farmer in the village lent us his truck for us to pack our belongings and find refuge in the neighboring town. My siblings and I had to split up and live in pairs of two amongst relatives and family members.

This instilled resilience and perseverance which I needed to birth a wine brand and business that will last for generations to come.

Why wine making? The family could have gone into any other industry, especially because the patriarch was into fishing.

After apartheid was abolished in South Africa, it took the country more than 10 years to implement policies to allow black people to enter industries and be able to start businesses. Before that it was not allowed. Apartheid was still very evident during the first 10 years. I tried the fishing industry for 8 years, or two 4-year cycles you were allowed to apply for a fishing quota. Corruption was rife. I eventually walked away and continued working until I was introduced to the wine industry. It was at a roadshow that I became interested in the wine industry.

Legacy is clearly a big pride mark for this brand. What would you like to be remembered for mostly- As Vivian and the Seven Sisters brand?

I would like to be remembered as one of the women pioneers of change amongst my 6 colleagues in this very white male dominated industry. Being the catalyst for change, forging the way forward for generations to come.

Is there an intention for the younger generation within the family to take over one day?

I would like my legacy to live on for generations to come. My younger son joined me after finishing his master’s degree in architecture in 2020. He is my successor and hopefully, my daughter will join us soon, she is an accountant. My younger sister and her son have also joined the business. Hopefully, some of the younger generations will be encouraged to study winemaking and viticulture.

What is at the heart of the Seven Sisters experience?

Sharing, the Spirit of place and people with our guests to encourage human connection and celebration. Our guests are served, like family, with the hospitality and soul food inherited from our heritage, encapsulating community, generosity of spirit and giving, love and inclusivity; to celebrate life together, creating enjoyable moments and lasting connections. We believe that everyone should be seen and heard at their fullest potential where the aspirations of self can be realized, appreciated, and shared.

If you were to choose or recommend one of the Seven Sisters wines, which would it be? Your personal favorite

My personal favorite is the Seven Sisters Sauvignon Blanc, an unassuming subtle varietal with an explosive complexity in the delivery.

A world-famous person you would like to visit the estate and sample your wine…?

Oprah Winfrey.

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