Our Story

As Jean Engelbrecht gained knowledge and an understanding of Californian wine, especially those from Napa, he was drawn to the wines of Silver Oak Cellars, their philosophy and the focused way they ran their operation. Drawing a parallel to his own family estate in South Africa, Rust en Vrede, he noted that both wineries focused on producing only red wine, in particular concentrating on a specific wine – Cabernet Sauvignon for Silver Oak and a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot for Rust en Vrede.

Inevitably Jean met Ray Duncan, proprietor of Silver Oak, and a friendship was formed which included visits to both continents.  The synergy that developed between the two families, their mutual love for wine, and the challenge to produce a wine together, led to the formation of The Cirrus Wine Company. By this time Ray’s two sons, David and Tim were also on board.

The wine was to be produced in South Africa, so the decision was made that it would be a Syrah.  The vision of the partners was to start off small, ensuring that the venture was laying a solid foundation for the future.  The maiden vintage, 2003, turned out to be a great vintage in South Africa and the resulting wine proved to be a resounding success. Cirrus is the expression of the view that wine, above all else, should bring people together.

After eleven vintages their philosophy remains the same and they are looking forward to their future endeavor of producing a Cirrus in the USA.


Jean Engelbrecht and Tim Duncan