J. W. Sauer established the Kanonkop winery in 1968; today, it is run by the fourth generation, his great-grandsons Johann and Paul Krige. Cellar master Beyers Truter joined the winery in 1980, working tirelessly to make it South Africa's most famous estate (and receiving the “King of Pinotage” accolade for his efforts). Since 2003, his successful work has been continued by his student, Abrie Breeslaar.
The Simonsberg wine region is regarded as the country's Mecca for red wine and has acquired an excellent reputation for South Africa's best red wines. Chief among those is Pinotage, a South African variety which was first planted here over 50 years ago by the Kanonkop winery. As the bush vines are exceptionally long-lived, they have not had to be replanted since then.
The Kanonkop winery cultivates a good 140 hectares of vineyards, predominantly south-facing slopes of weathered granite and clay soils with a high loam content. Cool ocean breezes from the nearby coast and many hours of sun create the perfect microclimate.
Kanonkop exclusively grows the red varieties Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wines are known for their spicy, complex flavour, with aromas of ripe berries, cherries and nuts, and for their character and longevity.