Referring to the Biblical conversion of Paul the Apostle on the road to Damascus, a “damascene” moment is one of important insight, typically leading to a dramatic transformation of attitude or belief.
According to founding winemaker Jean Smit, this project was initially united by three passions; the pursuit of excellence, a spirit of discovery, and the desire to preserve nature through sustainable agriculture. Jean had already begun discussions with entrepreneur David Curl about his involvement in Moya Meaker; an Elgin-based winery focusing on cool-climate Burgundian varieties. But, after many long conversations about life, the meaning of quality, and the philosophical search for what wine should be (rather than what it is) they were both convinced that their collaboration would not end there. Within six months, Damascene was conceived; a series of wines that would tell the story, not of their owners, or marketing trends, but of the very vineyards themselves.
Within South African viticulture, Jean boasts an impressive resume which began by working for Adi Badenhorst at Rustenberg (before his departure to the Swartland) and culminated with him serving as head winemaker at Boekenhoutskloof for almost a decade, prior to his current roles at Damascene and Moya Meaker.