In Interview with a winemaker

Q. Where and when were you born ? 

“I was born in Malmsbury on 9th September 1981.

Q. Where did you study ?  

“I studied at University of Stellenbosch and achieved a B.Sc. Agric Viticulture and Oenology . After that I decided to do my M.Sc. in Oenology on commercial tannin additions and their influence on red wine quality!”

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

“I think every winemaker has his own very unique approach to winemaking. A couple of philosophies I do have  is that you always need  to get the basics right first ; The planning  is just as important  as the plan; your footsteps are the  best fertiliser for  any project, and lastly,  Winemaking  is not the making of but the expression of the terroir. “

Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ? 

“Very much. Here at Nitida I look after the vineyards as well as making the wine.  I believe that in the long run the biggest influence a winemaker has on his wine is done in the vineyards.”

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

“Working in the Durbanville area it has to be Sauvignon Blanc! However, I have a very soft spot for Riesling and pinot noir as well.”

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

“As a winemaker I think it is very important to learn and ask advice from as many other winemakers as possible. There is one winemaker I need to mention and that is Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia, where I learned all the basic philosophies and techniques of winemaking.”

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

“The successful launch of three new high end products at Nitida. The Golden Orb Sauvignon Blanc, The Tinkery (an experimental label) and The Grande Matriarch MCC which has to be right up there! Other than these recent releases the recognition from by the various wine industry awards has been great.”

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

“Trust the history of your vineyards and always go with your gut feeling!”

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

“I always joke that I had three things in the cellar that you can plug into a wall socket and the rest is done by hand but times have changed and I have slightly more “modern” winemaking equipment in the cellar today. I still like to keep things as basic and simple equipment wise as possible.”

Q. What would you like to add ? 

“I was lucky enough to take a gap of three years making beer at a microbrewery in England after my university studies. After that it was full time winemaking and then meeting my wonderful wife, Julie, and a little later three additions to our family which has all enriched my life.  For the future I would like to keep on making wines that I love drinking and hopefully spend a couple more harvests in European cellars.”

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