As a family-owned business, the core of the success of Kleine Zalze lies in the passion and commitment of the people who dedicate themselves in building a better future together.
Kobus Basson is the Managing Director and owner of Kleine Zalze. He is a qualified attorney and was in legal practice for 15 years in Stellenbosch before he bought Kleine Zalze. Kobus is supported by a small team of senior leaders including Johan Bestbier as the General Manager, Johannes van der Merwe responsible for Finances and IT, Carina Gous looking after Marketing and Sales and RJ Botha and his team who are responsible for all grape growing and winemaking activities.
Grape Growing & Winemaking Team
RJ Botha heads up the team of three winemakers and two viticulturists – the A-team responsible for the exceptional Kleine Zalze wines.
RJ Botha – Cellarmaster
RJ was always intrigued by the science of winemaking and thus studied BSc. Agric Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch. RJ has been with Kleine Zalze since 2012 where he contributed significantly to building a portfolio of award-winning wines. His dedication and meticulous attention to detail resulted in Kleine Zalze winning the top honours of Winery of the Year for the Platter’s Wine Guide 2021. RJ was promoted to Cellarmaster in 2021 and runs all farming and winemaking operations at Kleine Zalze with his team of 3 winemakers and 2 viticulturists.
Lizemari Geldenhuys – Winemaker
Lizemari joined Kleine Zalze in 2016 and is mainly responsible for the Cap Classique wine production. She is also the most senior winemaker assisting RJ with the white and red wine production. Lizemari graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc degree in Viticulture and Oenology. She gained international experience by doing two vintages in California and one in Australia.
Nataleé Botha – Winemaker
Nataleé completed a degree in BSc Agric Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch in 2007 and then continued to work around the globe in California, Marlborough and Bordeaux to gain some international experience and to travel before settling down in Stellenbosch at Stellenzicht Vineyards and later Grand Domaine, before joining Kleine Zalze in 2018.
Hanri Ferreira – Winemaker
Hanri was raised in Paarl and her passion for the winelands and its surrounds, along with her interest in science, extroverted personality and desire to not be office-bound led to her decision to pursue winemaking as a career – a decision she has never regretted. Hanri proceeded to study BSc Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch and graduated in 2015.
Henning Retief – Viticulturist
“Viticulture has always been in our family and that has been where my love for farming originated.” After studying viticulture at Elsenburg, Henning earned valuable experience at some leading farms in the Stellenbosch and Robertson valleys. He has been with Kleine Zalze since 2006 and fulfils a critical role in the winemaking team where it is fully recognised that excellent wines are made in the vineyard.
Anel Botha – Viticulturist
Anel works with Henning Retief in the vineyards on Kleine Zalze as well as the external properties with long term rental contracts. She finished her B Agric in Viticulture at Elsenburg in 2006 and decided to continue her studies at CPUT, finishing her B Tech in 2008. She gained valuable work experience during her time on various farms and estates in South Africa, Australia and France before joining the Kleine Zalze team in 2017.