In Interview with a winemaker

Q. When and where were you born ? 

“I am a 1987 vintage. Born in Cape Town and grew up in the platteland town of Malmsbury.”

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

“I am a graduate of the Elsenburg Institute for Agricultural Training, where I completed my B.Agric in Cellar Management & Viticulture degree and Diploma in Cellar Technology.”

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

“Each winemaker has his/her own idea how to approach winemaking, depends if you are a small or big cellar, do you make for wine for  the general consumer  or for the connoisseur, who your mentor is and , of course, if you work  with healthy vineyards. I rely a lot on instinct. I don’t believe in following a recipe . My approach is a lot hands but attention to detail is critical.”

Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ? 

“During the year I am not nearly  enough as I would like to be, but during the harvest I am out early in the morning before picking to make sure everything runs smoothly and then late afternoon to decide what is next for picking.”

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

“Rhone style is my big love and Grenache is my boyfriend !”

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

“I worked four years  at Saronsberg  so Dewald Heyns had a big impact  on my winemaking career.  He gave me the freedom to experiment, to make mistakes and how to correct them. It’s also there where  I fell in love with Rhone varieties. I grew up in the Swartland and always knew I will come back  to my roots !  Rosa Kruger also plays a vital role in my career both as viticulture and personal mentor.”

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

She answers with a broad grin “To be a winemaker !”

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

“There are no secrets but I have one rule : Be true to yourself and don’t follow a trend and make wines according to your terroir.”

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

“Not at all. We have a very basic cellar where you  still measure  sugar with a baling meter ! I do punch downs and have a manual basket press. I believe technology makes you lazy. Winemaking is all about smell, touch and experience. In my opinion, You are not making wine if you sit behind a computer !”

Q.  In general ? 

“After I graduated  I did a stint in South Australia, where I met the man who became  my husband, and then I went to California. I came back to Stellenbosch for a while then did my four years in Tulbagh. I got  married and joined Klooveburg and moved to live in Riebeek where we still live with two beautiful Labradors, Cinsaut and Simba.  There are currently,  positives and negatives in the industry  but we choose how we see them. Through my eyes  there is more good than bad  and everybody is working  really hard  to change the world’s perception about South African wine. It’s exciting and inspiring  to see the new generation of winemakers  pushing boundaries and making exceptional wine. In a nut shell I can’t wait for the next ten years . Great things are going to come !”

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