In Interview with a winemaker

Q. When and where were you born ? 

With engaging smile “I am just a baby and born a Vaalie ! I was born on 11th June 1991 in Krugersdorp. My folks moved to Cape Town in December 1997, just before I started school. I believe it was one of the best decisions they ever made !”

Q. Where did you study ? 

“I did a BscAgric Viticulture and Oenology at University of Stellenbosch and graduated in 2014.”

Q. what made you do winemaking ?

“My folks had wine with dinner and would allow the kids to have taste. I became intrigued with the way different cultivars differed in taste and was different from region to region. So it was partly curiosity and I had always enjoyed the sciences also Die Burger had a weekly segment on wine which I was reading when I did matric. So it seemed that was what I was going to do”

Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaker different to others ?

A bit bashful in reply “I believe that wine should be an expression of the nature of the grape. Bring out the best in the grapes and you will get amazing quality. You don’t have to force it into a style.”

Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?

Now a bit serious “Not as involved as I would like, although I do work very closely with our viticulturist.”

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

“I love working with  Bordeax varieties, but the aromatics, Gewurztraminer and Weisser Riesling, are wonderful and tricky to work with.”

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

Without hesitation “Etienne Louw, of Altydgedacht. He was my first mentor in the wine industry and taught me how to work with a whole lot of different cultivars and how one can make brilliant wine in a primitive cellar !”

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

With a cheeky smile “Ask me again in a few years !”

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

With that cute smile again . “Slow malolactic fermentations may benefit from the use of patio heaters in winter !!”

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

Back to serious mode:  “Modern equipment does simplify things and speeds the process up, but are not essential.”

Q. What about the future ?

“I can’t talk about the future without taking a step back. After school I went to Germany to au pair and that was when the idea of becoming a winemaker really struck. I applied for a university  place and was accepted to start the next year, 2011. While studying I started running and completed my first Comrades Marathon in my final year, while busy with an internship at Altydgedacht in Durbanville.  After the race I actually stayed in Durban for a while to help with marketing before I returned to the Cape in 2015. I was a harvest intern at Rupert and Rothschild which gave me the opportunity to work with  amazing equipment and wines ! After that I was appointed as Cellar and Winemaking administrator at Beyerskloof for almost two years. I started at Mount Vernon in July 2017.

For now I am mostly focusing on the coming harvest , 2018,  and planning of a new cellar which is a great opportunity for me.” After some thought and then with that great smile “I have a few personal goals to reach, including, hopefully completing my fifth Comrades.  My dad finished his 40th this year !!”

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