What has been the biggest influence on your winemaking?
Bernard Veller of Nitida. He gave me the chance to come to Nitida 4 years ago and has taught me about every aspect of the business – from how to run the farm, the business, the vines and also how to make great wine.
Where did you study?
I qualified in 2007 with a BSc from Stellenbosch University in 2007.
What excites you currently about the wine industry?
That would be the current crop of young winemakers coming through. We want to change the industry and move the wines in a more positive direction. We have fresh ideas and have New World Wine approach – drinkable earlier, fruit driven, elegant wines; just what the market wants.
What’s your favourite grape type?
For red it’s Shiraz, and for white it’s Sauvignon Blanc.
Is winemaking all about people in white coats in Labs?
What’s the most interesting happening in winemaking in SA right now?
As I said, I think it’s the shift to a more New World style of winemaking. In whites there is definitely a consumer move to blends, and consumers are experimenting in particular with more floral wines like Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Viognier. We are making Riesling this year.
What’s your top ambition as a winemaker?
Well, I won the Diners award for Young Winemaker of the Year, so what I want to do now is become a Cape Wine Guild Member and I suppose my top ambition is to establish my own wine brand
Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker?
What advice would you give to a young person thinking about going into the wine industry?
I would say that if you have the passion for it then go for it. The wine industry is difficult to get into at this level, but you need to keep at it. You have to be prepared to get in with the wine farms and much in – helping with harvests and so on.
Don’t think about getting in to it for the money. The rewards are really in the people you meet, the places you go, the great wines and wonderful people you are exposed to.
If you were stranded on a desert island and were allowed one bottle of wine, a non SA one, which would it be?
Can I have two please?
OK, if it were a hot island I’d bring a bottle of Cloudy Bay 2007 Sauvignon Blanc.
Anywhere else I’d bring a bottle of Chateau Angelus, a Bordeaux blend from St.Emilion.
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