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Jose Conde

Jose’ Conde was born and raised in Independence, Missouri. He graduated with honors in fine art from Parsons School of Design in New York and worked for 12 years as a designer and art director in New York and Tokyo, focusing on corporate identity and publishing. In 1997, he moved with his wife and two young daughters to Stellenbosch, South Africa and in 1998 established Stark-Conde’ Wines. The first vintage, made in an old farm shed using a hand crusher and home-made press, went on to receive 92 pts from Wine Spectator magazine, was a Platter 5-star wine (South Africa's highest wine award), won the South African Old Mutual trophy for best Cabernet Sauvignon of the year and was selected by the well-known British wine journalist, Oz Clarke, as one of the Top 20 Wines of the year.¬  Since that first wine, Stark-Conde’ has built a reputation as one of South Africa’s top family-owned wineries. Three times it has won the South African Old Mutual Trophy for Best Cabernet (the only South African winery to have won more than twice), twice it has won the Australian Six-Nations trophy for best New World Cabernet and once for Best New World White Blend. Jose’ is also a founding partner and managing director of MAN FAMILY WINES, a 250,000 case winery focused on good-value varietal wines from South African Coastal Region vineyards. 

Riaan Moller grew up in the Cape wine lands, surrounded by vineyards and beaches. After high school, he left South Africa and did a 3-year working and traveling stint in Europe. On his return, he started working as a cellar hand in various cellars, eventually working his way up to winemaker. In 2002, he decided he wanted to learn more about the finer details of winemaking and entered the Oenology program at Elsenburg College in Stellenbosch, graduating in 2006. Riaan has great depth of experience from small boutique to larger wineries: Slaley, Kleine Zalze, Ernie Els, Buena Vista Winery in California, Spier and most recently at Perdeberg Winery before joining MAN Family Wines as Head Winemaker. In his own words, “Spending time at smaller wineries, I came to understand the importance of attention to detail and quality. Working at larger wineries has taught me to keep a clear head under pressure and to see the potential in every wine.

Riaan Moller
Deon Abrams

Deon Abrams hails from the windswept coast of Cape Town, South Africa.  He grew up an avid sailor, motorcross racer and vintage car rally eventer.  He left South Africa during the dark days of apartheid and traveled extensively, living in Egypt, Israel, England and the U.S.  He met his future wife Max while living in New York in the 1990’s.  The two traveled frequently to Max’s family’s vineyard and winery, Grayhaven, in Virginia, where they would eventually settle and take over the family business.

Nicknamed “MacGyver” by the local farmers, Deon is nearly as well known for his uncanny ability to fix things as he is for his quick wit and wicked sense of humor.  His winemaking style is simple and elegant with a focus on producing wines that reflect the unique terrior of the Piedmont.  Deon is responsible for introducing Pinotage, South Africa’s national grape, to Grayhaven’s vineyards in 2004 and has enjoyed seeing the variety’s popularity soar in the state.

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