Our People

We operate with a team of skilled and passionate people at our domain in the Devon Valley.


Bernard Fontannaz

Founder

Bernard Fontannaz is founder of Origin Vineyards, a premium wine business built up from vineyards he owns in South Africa, Argentina and Switzerland. He purchased Le Grande Domaine in 2016  to create a “chateau concept” and produce iconic Bordeaux blends based on varieties that come from carefully selected clones and rootstock. He is passionate about promoting premium wines from South Africa and is working to create a new Grand Cru style system to raise the profile of the wines of the Devon Valley, where Le Grande Domaine is situated.

Debbie Thompson

Head Winemaker

Our head winemaker, Debbie joined Le Grand Domaine early 2020. A graduate from Stellenbosch University she spent the next 20 years as winemaker at Simonsig. Her professed goal at Le Grand Domaine is to make wines that truly express and reflect the terroir and the essence of the grape itself. 

Johann Smit

Viticulturist

Our viticulturist, Johann joined Le Grand Domaine early 2020. A graduate from Stellenbosch University he spent the next 20 years at Spier. His objective is to farm lighter with more consideration for the environment and South Africa’s heritage. For him the three most important words are people, planet and profit, in that order. He feels the vulnerability of grapes to nuances in the weather makes wine both particularly susceptible to climate change and a harbinger of what’s to come for the wine industry and agriculture.

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