Tanagra’s European style Eau de Vie and Grappa is flourishing in South Africa

Robert and Anette Rosenbach left Germany and settled in the McGregor area with their three cats to make a long-held dream come true, namely to live on a farm in South Africa. They took over Tanagra in March 2009, where they now live their motto which is ‘klein aber fein’ (loosely translated into ‘small but exquisite’), producing a range of premium spirits. 

They wanted to create a range of spirits which is not industrially produced mass produced but handcrafted with care from the best and freshest local products.

Coming from the Moselle valley, which has a longstanding history of wine-making, the couple grew up in an environment dominated by wine. Anette’s grandfather cultivated vines on the steep slopes of the Moselle valley. In their earlier lives Anette was a linguist and Robert, a business consultant. 

But apart from their office jobs they also loved nature, space and good wine and food, which is what they found when they began travelling through South Africa in 1996. They also felt that their secure lives could do with a bit of a kick so running a wine and guest farm in South Africa seemed an alternative and challenge worth trying.

Robert and Anette took the first eight months in their new home to restore various apartments and cottages on the farm to extend it to a guest farm, while continuing the farm activities and the winery. In December 2009 they built up the still they had brought with them from Germany  – Tanagra Distillery was born. 

Now, more than a decade later, Robert and Anette have turned Tanagra into a flourishing business where ecology and economy come together to make the best of nature’s products. And they agree – it has, so far, been an extraordinary experience for them.

A purer yield: combining copper and stainless steel distilling

It was Robert’s pioneering idea to bring along a 200 litre still when moving from Germany to Tanagra – a copper pot still combined with a shiny stainless steel column. This combination allows him to distil a purer yield in a single process, resulting in very refined spirits, he explains. 

If their goal was to introduce to South Africa the spirits which had been part of Robert and Anette’s culture back in Germany, they have absolutely succeeded.  The combination of German technology and know-how with South African base products, produces stylish Marc (what the Italians call Grappa and the Germans Trester), Eau de Vie (Fruit Spirit and Hefebrand (wine lees spirit)) and Fruit Liqueur.

  • Tanagra produces a range of five premium Marc Husk Spirits, two Eaux de Vie le Lie and an Orange Liqueur, as well a Reserve range four barrel matured grappas and Eaux de Vie de Lie (Hefebrand)