Patriarch of the Simonsig Estate, Frans Malan, passed away at his Stellenbosch home on Saturday, the day after celebrating his 75th birthday with friends and family. Malan was an innovative, no-nonsense winemaker who, in 1971, produced the country's first Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine known as Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Bubbly) and in the same year became one of three founder members of the highly successful Stellenbosch Wine Route, one of South Africa's top tourist attractions.