Born in 1965 in the French speaking part of Belgium, Jean-Philippe (JP) Colmant grew up in a strong culture of wine and Champagne as most Belgians do. After studying business and engineering, he went on to successfully run his own company for 11 years.
At the age of 36, he decided to emigrate with his family. They landed in their dream town Franschhoek on the 16th of December 2002. Here Jean-Philippe set up the first winery in South Africa solely dedicated to the production of Cap Classique, and shortly after he started the import of some very fine Champagne Houses. So, in 2005 Colmant Cap Classique and Champagne was born.
Owner of the Colmant farm and brand, Jean-Philippe has an impeccable talent for precision and attention to detail which are reflected in his Cap Classiques. He holds a strong philosophy for the style of the Cap Classiques he produces which is uncompromisingly classical, fresh and elegant.
Having survived fathering 5 children to adulthood Jean-Philippe is now taking his wines one step further in his pursuit of excellence. However, whenever the business allows, he and his wife Marina have a fierce appetite for hiking and traveling.
Growing up in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town Paul would make regular pilgrimages with his family to watch his much loved Maties Rugby team playing, enjoying long lunches under the old oaks and developing with his father his passion for great wines.
His career began as a Mathematics teacher a true passion of his. Paul’s career made a turn when during a wine course that his then soon to be mother in law gifted him, he discovered that wine, mathematics and chemistry overlap in a beautifully geeky way. Shortly after getting married he quit his job and returned to study Viticulture and Oenology (full time) at Stellenbosch University. Thereafter he set off on a quest to better understand the alchemy of bubbles and completed harvests in Franciacorta (Italy), Rhinelandphalfz (Germany) and Le Mesnil sur Oger (Champagne, France).
During his time in Le Mesnil sur Oger their winemakers provided Paul with the perfect opportunity to hone his skill and passion for Champagne and Cap Classique. He makes regular visits back to this Grand Cru village to better understand the finer arts of blending and the producing of exceptional terroir driven wines from some of the region’s finest oenologues and vignerons.
Paul, now working alongside Jean-Philippe to take Colmant Cap Classique to the next level, is firmly rooted in their love of attention to detail for the production of the finest Cap Classique.
Enthusiastic about Cap Classique, happily married and with a Love for Life.
Jess enjoys every aspect of the farm and working with brilliant minds like JP Colmant and Paul Gerber, and hopes to someday impeccably improve her knowledge on Cap Classique.
Jessica is looking after the admin at Colmant, processing orders and managing the tasting room on the farm.
Born and bred Franschhoeker, the love for tourism and people pumps through my veins
Even though I enjoy the admin side of the business it’s always a welcoming diversion to host guests in the tasting room and to show them what Colmant is about.
Ann is deeply rooted in Franschhoek… and in bubbly !
Her mother started Le Quartier Francais and her father’s passion for wine flamed Ann’s interest, leading to a career in wine. She worked for 20 years in the marketing team of Graham Beck and shares with her husband Pieter (aka ‘Bubbles’) an unconditional love for Cap Classique and all things that bubble around it.
Long standing friend of Paul and Jean-Philippe and strong believer in the Colmant venture, Ann contributes extensively in developing the Colmant brand into something unique out of Franschhoek, alongside JP and Paul. She just makes it happen !!!!
Our Story… In search of the perfect bubble…
In 2002, in the pursuit of his passion Jean-Philippe Colmant made the ‘big move’ with his family from French speaking Belgium to a little pocket of paradise in the Western Cape.
“Having owned and run a stone manufacturing business for twelve years in Belgium we felt the time had come to change direction, to attempt something new, to create something that we could enjoy doing now and that would benefit our children in years to come”.
On their travels through the Cape he discovered the enchanting Franschhoek Valley and purchased a 5ha smallholding which was part of the original La Motte farm granted to one of the French Huguenots back in 1694.
“What better place to establish a property dedicated to the production of fine bubbles? We set about planting new vineyards and constructing a cellar dedicated to the age-old method of Champagne production”.
The decision to pursue a career in an industry of which he knew nothing and in which he had absolutely no experience may appear daunting, but with characteristic drive and focus, JP Colmant took the ultimate leap of faith.
“Although I have always been a good consumer of wine and bubbly, I knew nothing about how it was made. I was a businessman, not a farmer or a winemaker”.
He implemented an ambitious plan to establish a facility to produce his own Cap Classique wines, while simultaneously importing exceptional Champagnes at very attractive prices. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards were planted on the farm however, this was just the beginning. The construction of South Africa’s first cellar to be solely dedicated to Cap Classique was next. As this was a unique project, the cellar design is also unique. It was built with specific attention to detail that allows for the production and maturation of the very best bottle-fermented sparkling wines. In addition, the very best quality terroirs were selected from which to source the most suitable fruit for the Colmant range of hand-crafted Cap Classique wines. On completion of the cellar building in 2005, the farm was ready for its first harvest in 2006.
“We released our first classic Colmant style bubbly in 2008, and have never looked back. Today we produce 60000 bottles of Cap Classique a year across six different blends”
If there’s one thing a bubbly lover understands it’s the concept of finesse. Just as planning and creating a brilliant bottle of bubbly takes exceptional patience and unlimited passion, so the setting up of an authentic and dedicated home for classy cuvées is a labour of love! There can be no compromise.
“I am self-taught and therefore in the early days I spent a lot of time travelling across Champagne and the Winelands to meet many bubbly makers. From the start, Pieter Ferreira – South Africa’s very own ‘Mr Bubbles’ and cellar master of Graham Beck – has been supporting my project and sharing his bottomless passion and knowledge with me”
Over the years, the Colmant brand, quality and reputation has grown from strength to strength. Always in search of the perfect bubble, exciting new changes happened at Colmant Cap Classique and Champagne at the start of 2019 when the announcement came that Paul Gerber, once of South Africa’s leading Cap Classique makers, had joined the team as winemaker. Paul has come with a wealth of knowledge and shares JP’s passion of striving to produce the finest boutique Cap Classique in South Africa.
Jean-Philippe and Paul strive to create Cap Classique with balance, elegance and finesse.
The Cap Classiques reflect the terroir of our regions showing ripeness and fullness but still retaining freshness and balance. We use exclusively the traditional champagne varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in our production process, more or less in equal proportions.
The most crucial part of making a refined bubbly is the blending. It is of the utmost importance for us to select the perfect blending components, each one contributing an extra dimension to the final product. For that reason, we select our grapes from different sites, according to the specific characteristics of each terroir, ensuring that we have enough components to work with to make a base wine with maximum complexity. Both grape types contribute their own specific qualities, without which complete balance and harmony would not be possible.
Our Pinot Noir grapes are sourced from versatile origins, coming from five different farms located between Franschhoek, Robertson and Elgin, all of which offer their own distinct desirable characteristics of body and finesse.
Chardonnay brings finesse, life, freshness and elegance and its slow development gives an ideal ageing potential. Out of the Chardonnay grapes we use, over 50% are grown by us on Colmant Farm, where the soil provides a perfect balance between full structure and a level of acidity that brings freshness and vivacity. The remainder of our Chardonnay comes from the limestone soils of Robertson and Bonnievale as well as the cooler climate of Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde.