Veronique Jephtas

Vivian Kleynhans was born on the magnificent West Coast of South Africa, in the fishing village of Paternoster. She and her siblings, she has six sisters and one brother, experienced much hardship during her childhood years. When Vivian looked for a way to support her family, she figured it a great idea to learn all there is to know about wine. Her vision and stamina got her to where she is today, founder and CEO of a wine business. She opened her wine company in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of the country and named it Seven Sisters (in honour of her sisters).

When Vivian was 18 years old, her father, Jannie Brutus, lost his job after twenty-five years of service at the fishing factory in her hometown of Paternoster. This resulted in the eviction of the Brutus family from their factory house and their dispersal as they were split up into pairs of two to live with relatives. The family had to leave their hometown of Paternoster.

It was 20 years later that the separated Brutus sisters were reunited and began working towards realizing their vision of creating their family business.

With Vivian Kleynhans (née Brutus) at the helm, her journey in wine-making is an interesting one. Not only did she enter the industry as a self-taught wine entrepreneur, when starting out on her wine-making journey, she also created one of the most established emerging wine brands in South Africa. Vivian’s vision was to one-day establish a business and legacy for generations to come. In a 2003 speech, the South African Minister of Agriculture & Land Affairs (now Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development) Angela Thoko Didiza encouraged people of colour to participate in the higher value chain of the Wine Industry. People of colour were excluded from this industry until 1994, when South Africa became a democratic country. Upon investigating the industry, Vivian found that 9% of employment in South Africa was attributed to farm workers in Vineyards (5.4% in 2020 Q4). Today, the Wine Industry’s export market is worth 9.1billion ZAR (643 million USD).

In 2009, the seven sisters and brother acquired a piece of barren land to build their new home. own winery/tasting facility and the planting of wine grapes. Seven Sisters Vineyards is situated in the heart of the Winelands in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Here we receive international and local tourists to do wine tastings and wine and food pairings. Now many years later, Vivian has developed the land. The planting of vines, building of a tasting room and restaurant as well as a wine storage facility. Seven Sisters Vineyards is a first-generation wine farm. In 2016 the Brutus family reserve wines were produced in collaboration with neighbouring vineyards and from the vineyards of their own farm.