Steenberg embraces a rich legacy of formidable women

Steenberg, the landmark Constantia wine farm founded in 1682 by the indomitable Catharina Ras, continues this proud legacy with a formidable all-women management team.

After more than three centuries, Catharina’s courage, confidence and fearless spirit remain central to the Steenberg story and the omnipresence of her feisty character is a constant source of inspiration to the new generation of women who follow in her footsteps. These qualities all resonate in Cellarmaster Elunda Basson, Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin and Catherine Schulze, GM of Steenberg Hotel & Spa, as they lead Steenberg Farm to new frontiers with exciting offerings and growth in every sphere.

As South Africa’s oldest registered farm, Steenberg has been a bastion of hospitality from its earliest days and frequently played host to passengers en route from the winter harbour of Simon’s Town to the growing enclave in Cape Town. The original manor house and werf, a Cape Provincial Heritage Site, remain the heart of the luxury Steenberg Hotel & Spa. Here under the guidance of General Manager Catherine Schulze, guest experiences are in step with global hospitality trends, yet ever mindful of the rich history and profound sense of place of this 17th century gem.

Towards the end of the 1600s, Catharina, known as Tryn to her nearest and dearest, had built a fruitful life in the Cape against great odds and misfortune when three of her string of five husbands succumbed to the wild, African landscape in a series of unfortunate mishaps. Regardless, her unrelenting spirit never wavered. She transformed land at the foot of the Stone Mountain into a flourishing farm with her fresh produce receiving particular praise.

At Tryn, Steenberg’s signature restaurant, Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin and her team bring Catharina’s narrative into the 21st century in this vibrant, contemporary space, creating a dining experience that is connected to her free and unbridled spirit with fabulous food, bold accents and modern textures. Here Chef Kerry takes her culinary skills to the next level, featuring an abundance of fresh ingredients, honest flavours and intuitive service.

In addition to honouring Catharina’s legacy at Tryn, Steenberg Farm immortalises her name with two signature wines: the flagship red blend, Catharina, and the prestige cuvée, Lady R Méthode Cap Classique. The task of managing the entire winemaking operation at this landmark wine farm in the Constantia Wine Valley falls on Cellarmaster Elunda Basson.

Catherine Schulze, GM of Steenberg Hotel &Spa

A proud hotelier, Catherine has called Steenberg Hotel & Spa her home for the past 13 years. Rapidly rising through the ranks from Rooms Division Manager to General Manager in 2017, Catherine’s role has been pivotal in creating memorable guest experiences at this recently refurbished and rejuvenated 24 room boutique property.  By connecting with her practical gifts and design impulses to create beautiful spaces, Catherine has shaped the style and room décor of the hotel, deepening the luxury and bespoke elements and moving away from the farm hotel identity. Her grandfather’s magnificent garden of her childhood continues to inspire her vision for the hotel grounds, which provide a constant supply of freshly picked heirloom roses, lavender and other blooms for the rooms, suites and spa.

Catherine has blossomed at Steenberg taking every opportunity offered whether to design and manage the renovation projects, tackle the gardens, manage the spa or continue to develop and grow the staff drawn from Westlake, Steenberg and beyond. She values the amazing opportunities the hospitality industry offers those who want to grow professionally and create better lives for themselves and their families. Being part of a greater Steenberg community that includes not only homeowners and guests, but visitors and staff, has been a life force for Catherine who uses every opportunity to connect people to one another and to everything the farm has to offer.

Kerry Kilpin, Steenberg Executive Chef

As Steenberg Executive Chef, Kerry Kilpin is at the helm of two restaurants, appealing to all tastes from refined contemporary dining at Tryn to bistro-style fare and tapas at the popular Bistro Sixteen82.  

Kerry, who has been at Steenberg since 2014, describes her food as “contemporary classics with a twist” bursting with fresh seasonal flavours. She loves exploring new ingredients discovered on trips abroad. A visit to Thailand was instrumental in developing her signature Asian influence in her food, while a culinary visit to Barcelona fired new enthusiasm for her popular tapas menu. Even when she is not travelling, Kerry is in constant search of new ingredients, flavours, textures and taste experiences she can infuse into her dishes. She creates food with an inimitable contemporary spirit that is fresh, seasonal and flavourful. Kerry’s profound passion for ethically sourced fish shines through in all her menus.

Elunda Basson, Steenberg Cellarmaster

An accomplished winemaker and specialist of her craft, Elunda joined Steenberg Vineyards in June 2019 at the pinnacle of an illustrious career spanning over two decades making still and sparkling wines for leaders in the industry.  

Her profound passion for Méthode Cap Classique makes Elunda the perfect fit for Steenberg’s fine range of bubblies, especially the 1682 Chardonnay Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs, her personal favourite style of bubbly for which she has garnered the highest accolades.

When it comes to making still wines, Elunda cherishes the opportunity of working in the oldest wine appellation of the New World and has set her sights on securing Steenberg’s rightful place as a producer of top tier Sauvignon Blanc. Her experience as a red winemaker early on in her career also holds her in good stead for making Steenberg signature reds.  Elunda is supported in this endeavour by an experienced viticulture and cellar team who share a deep understanding of the cool climate terroir and winemaking culture that is quintessentially Steenberg.

Elunda’s enthusiasm for life is reflected in every facet of her winemaking. At Steenberg she is able to appreciate and enjoy some of life’s greatest pleasures on a daily basis – good wine, good food and, above all, good company.

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