In Interview with a winemaker

Q. When and where were you born ?

“I was born into a winemaking family in Stellenbosch on 17th April 1980.”

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

“I attended the University of Stellenbosch where I did B.Sc in Oenology and Viticulture.”

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

“I don’t suppose so but I do try to be involved personally in every aspect of winemaking.”

Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ? 

“Very.  The vineyard is also my baby as well as the winemaking but I do have some assistance.”

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

“Reds, both Bordeaux and Shiraz.”

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

“I love the red wine areas of France, Spain and Italy and I am sure visits to those countries have influenced me. I plan to visit South America soon so we shall see what influence that will have.”

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

“Being able to make wine from the wonderful grapes of the Helderberg here in Stellenbosch.”

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

“I don’t think of secrets. For me, if there is any secret, it is the basic of good grapes. Good grapes are the beginning and end to quality wine. “

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

“We only do reds at Alto and have a pretty normal setup, but a mechanical sorter  does add  something. I would like to develop on this by soon being able to have having an optical system. “

Q. And in general ? 

“I can surely say we work in the world’s best environment and everyday one needs to be thankful for that. I was born and grew up on Neethlingshof, where my father was winemaker. He was also born there.  We moved to Alto in 2000 where my father also became the winemaker.  My first vintage at Alto was in 2003.  After that I was a year at Citrusdal then a good innings at Kleine Zalze followed by thee vintages at Boschendal where I also got involved with some DGB wines.  Who knows what the future holds?  I want to create wines from this great Helderberg terroir that will stand up against the best in the world!”

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