South African patriarch Hans Schroder (b. 1938) was raised in Stellenbosch but spent much of his adult life abroad. In the 1960’s while attending university in Japan, Hans met and married fellow student Midori Maruyama. At the time, their marriage contravened the apartheid regime’s Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act so the young couple settled in Japan. They remained in Tokyo for the next 30 years where they raised three daughters—Marie, Lisa, and Miki. Fast forward to the late 1980’s — the end of apartheid was inching closer and Nelson Mandela’s release was imminent. Hans and Midori decided it was time to return to South Africa and be part of the positive change. They purchased the Oude Nektar farm in 1989 and focused on growing grapes.
Eldest daughter Marie and her American husband Jose also relocated to South Africa to join the family. Jose, a graphic designer by trade, originally intended to open a studio in Cape Town but plans were thwarted when he discovered his passion for wine. With an artisan’s attention to detail and a purist’s approach in the cellar, Jose slowly developed the wines to where they are today. He continues to design all his own wine labels.
“Stark” plays tribute to Hans’ mother Franziska Stark. Best remembered for her fierce independence and insatiable curiosity, she was the first of the family to settle in Stellenbosch. “Conde” is a salute to Jose’s father, a Cuban émigré to the United States. Jose attributes his love of craft and work ethic to his father, who left Cuba as a young man to embrace challenge in a new country.
This wine is based around the highest elevation vineyard on the estate, which at 550m is arguably one of Stellenbosch’s highest Cabernet vineyards. The site has very stoney decomposed granite soils, and a perfect aspect toward the afternoon sun.