In Interview with a winemaker

Q. When and where were you born ?

“In Mowbray, Cape Town on 6th October 1974.” Then adds “ I was only a few months old when my dad started Beaumont Primary school in Somerset West so the family moved to Somerset West. I have four brothers and we all grew up in that delightful town.”

Q. Where did you study ? 

“Well I couldn’t make up my mind what to do so my Dad packed me off to the Army. Well that was a total waste of time. So I took a “gap year”. My brother was the winemaker at Hartenburg and so I ended up spending a lot of time with him.  With his influence and guidance I decided to enrol at Elsenburg in 1995. When I completed that at end of 1996 I went to work at Paardeberg Co-Op in 1997. I managed to fit in harvests in Australia, California and New Zealand.”

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

“Not sure about that but I base my winemaking solely on the vineyard and the seasonal changes.”

Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?

“Besides making the wine I am the viticulturist at Kleinood so I am totally involved.”

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

Without any hesitation “Syrah and Mourvedre.”

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

With a friendly smile “My winemaking brothers Carl and Rudi.”

Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement in winemaking ?

With a big grin “Ten years of vintages at the same property !  I am finally getting to understand the property.”  After some reflection “2017 was my 22nd vintage.”

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

“I firmly believe that less is more ! I spend more time in the vineyard than in the winery.” After some thought “   

I guess meticulous care and handling. Our team inspects the vineyard from an aerial perspective and this allows us to do an infrared survey and determine vigour and ripeness in each block and pick each area accordingly.

Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment to you ? 

With a serious look “Very, I have some fancy toys in the winery and they simplify a very hands on operation.  All the machines we use save us time and ensure efficiency.”

Q. I am told that you met your wife-to-be and it was love at first sight ? 

He almost blushes and replies “It was during my second year at Elsenburg when I had been swimming with guys in the dam and was covered in mud when the sister of one of the guys, Juanita, now my wife, appeared and I declared that I would marry her !” “However marriage was still quite a while away.”

Q. Besides your wife and now kids you have another love in your life ? 

“Yes, surfing.  In 1998 I left for Australia and surfed until my visa expired !”

Q. And then ? 

“I had to get serious about working and started at Morgehof. Where, surprise, Juanita was also working. We actually got married in March 2001.  I worked at Waterford and was at Delaire when in 2007 I applied for and got the job at Kleinood and have been here ever since.

“I am still passionate about winemaking and surfing but have an extra passion in Juanita and our three kids.  I intend for things to stay that way till the end of my days.”

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