Anysbos (äh-nays-bōs) – n. wild anise bush/plant found along the Cape South Coast where it is known as Agathosma Cerefolium
The genus name Agathosma is derived from the Greek word agathos which means good, and osme, which refers to the distinctive fragrance which is so characteristic of the genus. The oil glands on the leaves and fruit normally release an aromatic fragrance when crushed. The specific epithet, cerefolium, refers to the waxy leaves of the species.
Anysbos is more than a plant, wine, winery or even vineyard…it is a place, and a special one at that. Johan and Sue Heyns founded Anysbos in 2008 through happenstance and a near tragic event. Johan was in the film business in Johannesburg and had a very unfortunate run-in with a home invasion when he was shot twice. His brother Bernhard Heyns owns the vineyard just down the road from what is now Anysbos, called Gabriëlskloof, and pleaded with Johan to move to a more stress-free life in the country. Johan completed the purchase of 70ha of land in 2008 and planted the first olive groves. The following year he planted Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir when his brother said he would purchase it all for Gabriëlskloof. Four years later they collectively realized this wasn’t the ideal place for those varieties and ripped them out to replant better suited ones. They also hired a top viticulturist to analyze the soils, water tables, aspect, climate, etc. who recommended that they plant Rhône varieties and a bit of Chenin Blanc. In late 2012 the 10ha vineyard was replanted to bush vine varieties and has been organically dry-farmed since its inception.
Johan was searching for the right winemaker and he found her right down the road thanks to his brother’s winemaker (and son-in-law), Peter-Allan Finlayson, who recommended recent arrival Marelise Niemann. Marelise had just joined Gabriëlskloof as an assistant in 2014 after spending seven years at Beaumont. Johan and Marelise met and immediately Johan knew he had not only found his winemaker but the perfect embodiment of Anysbos. It was Marelise’s suggestion that Johan travel to the Rhône and gain a better understanding of his vision. He went in 2014 and came back with the understanding that Grenache would be what would make him happiest and reflect the terroir of Anysbos.
Marelise takes no salary for her work at Anysbos. In return she makes her own wines there under the brand Momento Wines. “I don’t think I would make wine for anybody else,” says Marelise, referencing her connection to Johan, Sue and Anysbos. “When I met Johan I realized this is someone I can build something with and every time we drive around the farm we come up with new ideas all of the time. He is 70-years-old, but he is like an 18-year-old with big plans and always dreaming.” Marelise has been instrumental in the direction of Anysbos and is more than a winemaker, she is the caretaker.