Douglas Green truly bucked the South African winemaking trend by becoming one of the country's first 'négociants' back in the first half of the 20th century. His unconventional approach was certainly risky, but has definitely paid off, as the company is now one of the most respected in South Africa and exports its wines to over 50 countries.
During the First World War, Douglas Green Senior (his son and current head of the company actually shares the same name) served in the navy. After the war, he remained in Europe, and gained valuable experience working in the Champagne region. This wasn't his only qualification, though - he also gained viticulturist and oenologist qualifications at Elsenburg, South Africa's famous wine school.
In 1938, he bought a local winery in Paarl, and in 1942 it was renamed Douglas Green & Company. Since the beginning, Douglas Green's philosophy has been to source the Cape's best grapes, and create fruity, easy-drinking wines. Crucial to the consistency and excellent quality of the company's wines is Douglas Green's revolutionary attitude to blending. He believed that South Africa's best vineyards shouldn't be isolated, but instead should be skilfully combined to produce wines greater than the sum of their parts.
As a result, he spent the first years of his enterprise traversing the Cape looking for the best vineyards, grape parcels and growers. As he gained popularity, he made local deliveries in his trusty Chevy truck, which is pictured on the label of the 2012 vintage. His son has continued his work, and still operates the business according to his father's beliefs.
Today, Douglas Green & Co has a team of expert viticulturists - headed by Stephen Joubert - who have worked hard to forge longstanding relationships with their appointed growers, which span from the cool coastal mountains in the West to the sunny Breede River Valley.
Like many of the strictest, most respected négociants in France, members of the Douglas Green team are on hand to sample and inspect the fruit at every stage of the growing process, advising each individual grower on what he needs to do to get the best from the vintage, whether that's creating leafy canopies or thinning the yield where bunches aren't concentrated enough.
The winemaking team is led by chief oenologist Jaco Potgieter, a man with extensive knowledge of international wine trends, who manages operations across several wineries. He is assisted by Gerhard Castens - blending cellarmaster - and Liesl Engelbrecht, who oversees the final blending and bottling at their cellars in Wellington.
All individual grape varieties are vinified separately according to their individual needs. For instance, in the case of the Shiraz-Viognier, the shiraz is fermented on its skins for a week before being pressed then treated on oak staves, whereas the viognier is cold-fermented in stainless-steel tanks. From its inception, the company has also been making a range of port and sherry-style fortified wines which are incredibly popular and considered a benchmark of their type.