In Interview with a winemaker

Q. Where do you originate from ?

“Born and bred in Cape Town.” With a bit of after thought “I have stayed near the sea and mountains ever since. I live in the greatest wine producing area in Africa, namely Stellenbosch.”

Q. Where did you study and what qualifications do you have ? 

“Before deciding on a career, I did an in-depth analysis of what I wanted and needed in a job to best express my values and interests. I narrowed it down to natural sciences in an agricultural field and being a lover of outdoors, figured that working in the winelands, which tend to occupy some of the most beautiful spots on earth, was the best option.  I studied a BSc majoring in Business management and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch.”  “ I planned my course of study and have spent a lot of time travelling around the world to various wine regions in search of inspiration and perspective.”

Q. Do you consider your winemaking to be different to others ? 

“Yes, very definitely, I am not mainstream !”

Q. How involved to you get in the vineyard ?

“Very. I am involved in all practices that have a qualitative impact. We try to match vineyard to wine style and thereafter the production team works very closely together.”

Q. Do you have any varietals you prefer to work with ? 

“Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay really sow the hand  of the winemaker , and therefore  pose a great challenge in the winery in order to let that vineyard shine.”

Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or by a wine region ?

With sincerity “I try to learn from all people and have made it my mission to meet and taste wines made by people who are driven by passion and conviction. They may not always be right, but I find that I learn much more from these types of winemakers than winemakers who make wine according to a recipe.”

Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?

“Winning Platters “white Wine of the Year” two years in a row.”

Q. What “secrets “ have you “developed”  that make your wines different to others ? 

Very serious “I don’t have any secrets …..I only try to understand the vineyard site I am working with, and in doing so create a style for a particular wine that is great quality and consistent from year to year. I guess what makes my wines different is that I use a minimum intervention approach and use a little additive as possible. Natural yeast, natural settling, minimal to no use of tartaric acid, minimal to no filtration, minimal use of SO2 etc.”

Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?

Sort of matter of fact “Not very important. We could probably be seen as “old fashioned”   in that we don’t use modern sorting machines, centrifuges, cross flows, etc. Having said that, technology is all a part of human advancement, and there is a place for it, however it’s not a turnkey solution to great wine.”

Q. How do you see the future ? 

“As you know I studied at Stellenbosch and chose to blend a mix of business subjects. This has proven invaluable in running a successful wine business. I am married to the woman of my dreams and am gifted with three wonderful children. I have been working at De Morgenzon with the Appelbaum’s for six years and I am enjoying the challenge of building an iconic South African estate.” After some deep thought he continues “I am motivated by success stories, and the more time I spend at De Morgenzon the more driven I am to continue the success.”

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