Lynne is the heart and engine room of Safriel House and is fanatical about quality and our customers, focusing on quality from cellar to bottle. Lynne strives to make Safriel House wines in her spirit: for people who care about family, are independent, not corporate or industrial - wines rooted in place & circumstance. Lynne works with farmers to ensure our wines are vibrant, living and natural, not chemical, thus making wines that are fun to drink, perhaps even dangerously so… but definitely not lightweight or dismissible. Much like her.
Lynne’s family originally settled in Tulbagh, a town in the heart of the Cape wine country and she still has close family who call Constantia home. She has a wickedly astute palate for wine and her enduring philosophy is “We have to produce wines that I can be proud to put my name on". For Lynne, this doesn't stop at the winery. Lynne took it upon ourselves to take care of our wines beyond our cellar by organizing temperature controls for our wines while they are transported to our customers.
Lynne's favorite reads in wine are "The World Atlas of Wine" by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson and the classic "South African Wine" by David Hughes.
Q and A with Lynne Safriel:
Q: How did you get into wine?
A: South African wines run deep with our family. My family hails from the winelands and my husband worked on wine farms straight out of high school. He managed to get a series of jobs on some of the best wine farms in South Africa where he worked with people who became life long contacts. They were making wines using traditional methods and those were very beautiful wines they made, full of personality and character. When I met Yair, he had moved into healthcare, where I was working too, but the combination of the natural beauty of the winelands, centuries old farms and the meeting of art and science drew me in and united us in starting Safriel House.
Q: Why is it so challenging (and rare) to start a wine business and scale it to be profitable and sustainable?
A: Starting a wine business has some of the greatest barriers to entry - more than almost any other business. That's why most wineries today are owned by multi generational wealth that is often controlled by older generation or billionaires, celebrities or conglomerates…Or it takes getting investors which makes you not family owned. Commercial wine production is now mostly controlled by massive wine conglomerates. These conglomerates want to pay the cheapest price possible for the grapes for mass produced wines you see at all the stores and dominate the marketing channels. So the reality is that very few wine businesses can scale and make it to profitability so they either stop, sell to a big brand or just really never start. It breaks my heart to think about how many Americans don't like wine just because the only wine they have is made in mass with additives to satisfy a 'flavor profile' by the big conglomerates who prioritize profit over quality.
Q: So how did you - mom of 3 young girls - do it?
A: I am a 'doer' at heart but it’s been quiet a journey. In the beginning it was quiet an intense time to figure out our house style. Who would drink our wines? How to tell our story? There is a big knowledge gap that has developed about sustainable viticulture and classic winemaking.
So we decided that Safriel House will always focus on:
• A quality product.
• Quality sustainable farming.
• Quality winemaking.
• Community, authenticity and storytelling that is rooted in our heart and soul.
Sadly, all of these are rare in the wine industry.
Q: Why is it important to support Safriel House?
A. There are so many reasons… Safriel House is changing the way people think about wine. The wine industry should not only be run/ controlled/ dominated by a few select celebrities, billionaires and conglomerates. This isn't good for our industry, planet or future. Many people understand with one bite the difference between a commercial tomato and one grown locally and sold at a farmers’ market. When people taste our wine, they can immediately TASTE the difference. We are very proud of the vineyards we work with, the amazing wine and we are rare in that we are one of the very few first generation, female run and family-owned/operated wine businesses.
You can follow Lynne on Instagram at @winewondergal