“I was born in Beaufort West in the Great Karoo in 1984.”
Q. Any significance between Beaufort West and Beau Constantia ?
“No…. but it is a cute connection !!”
Q. Where did you study ?
“University of Stellenbosch/ I graduated in 2007 with a BSc (Agric) in Viticulture and Oenology.”
Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaking to be different to others ?
“No, not really. I think all of us strive to turn the grapes into good quality wine by the purest and healthiest means possible.”
Q. You mention grapes, how involved do you get in the vineyard ?
“ I get very involved in the vineyard, hence my fairly nonchalant answer to the previous question. I firmly believe wines can really only be altered or dramatically improved in the vineyard, so all vineyard practices from choice of cultivars, pruning, trellising and canopy management are vital tools used to steer the grapes toward style and quality. In essence we are farming for flavour, because we can’t make flavour in the cellar”
Q. Do you have any varieties you prefer to work with ?
“I really enjoy working with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, especially with barrel fermentation and blending the two in the best possible ratio. On reds I love working with syrah and Cabernet Franc, mostly because of the diverse styles one can make from each of those varieties.”
Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or region ?
“The St Emilon appellation of Bordeaux, where the vineyards are more important than the size and grandeur of the Chateau. The most impressive part is how they achieve elegance and finesse together with incredible power in their wines with blends made up mostly of Merlot.”
Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?
“Being able to balance two winemaking jobs with a family life and giving sufficient quality time to my wife and two daughters !”
Q. What “secrets” have you “developed” that make your wines different to others ?
“No secrets. The only “secrets” can perhaps be the knowledge that comes with working with the same vineyards for a period of 7 to 8 years. This timeframe allows one to really understand a vineyard and even certain sections within a vineyard that give different nuances and qualities. Hopefully this can help in improving the final wine, compared to using vineyards for the first or second time round.”
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“Modern winemaking equipment that makes one’s life easier and is beneficial to the health of the wine is always helpful. For example we have argon system that can be used to keep all tanks inert whilst storing wine in tanks after fermentation. Even tanks on ullage are kept safe, so this is important and very helpful. But, I suppose, that is the only bit of modern equipment, so maybe not exactly important. I suppose the cooling system can be considered modern !”
Q. Any overseas involvement ?
“Yes. St Emilon in 2008 and Napa Valley in 2010.
Q. What has been your greatest moment ?
“The birth of our first daughter ! Obviously knew she was expected but not quite so early. I had to go directly from the winery to the hospital on a Friday afternoon . She is still full of surprises.”
Q. The future ?
“I intend to enjoy the magnificent Constantia Valley. In the future there may even be my own little “own label” wine project. Watch this space !”