“I was born in Robertson on 1st April 1991.”
Q. Do you get teased about being born on 1st April ?
The answer comes with that charming , trade mark grin. “There was a time I was constantly teased about being an April Fool but I think I have proved otherwise !”
Q. Where did you study ?
“I went to Elsenburg and received my bachelor’s degree in Oenology and Viticulture.”
Q, Do you consider your approach to winemaking to be different to others ?
“Not really. There is only so much that you can do with wine. I do think winemakers distinguish themselves from other winemakers by the way he or she pays attention to the finer detail. I’m a strong believer in doing the ten small things perfectly.”
Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?
All of a sudden, very serious. “The truth be told, not enough. If I get a chance to see what the vineyard team is busy with, I’ll take it but unfortunately it happens seldom. The cellar keeps me really busy but it id definitely on my priority list to get out more.”
Q. Do you have any varieties that you prefer to work with ?
“At this stage, not really. What I really love about Bon Courage is the opportunity to work with a big variety of cultivars from MCC, Desset wines, Dry white and reds and even Mampoer !” Then continues “We have a big collection of cultivars on the farm so I’m patiently trying to see what each vineyard block has to offer. So far I’m really spoiled with great vineyards with amazing character. It makes it difficult to pick a favourite, but eventually I will have to narrow it down. I don’t want to look like a jack of all trades but master of none.”
Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or region ?
“Winemaker – yes. Wine region – not at this stage. I think every wine region can make any type of wine and has something unique to offer. Lourens van der Westhuizen , winemaker at Arensig Winery, once described it correctly saying we have so many terroir pockets, for instance, Robertson. Pockets where you find ideal climate for whichever cultivar you want to grow. I also admire Charles Hopkins at DFe Grendel for his attention to detail and Bartho Eksteen for his originality. Not to mention Jacques at Oom Andre Bruwer of Bon Courage.”
Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?
With a great deal of modesty. “ I am still young, my hall of fame is pretty empty, but luckily last year I was in the right place at the right time and I received the Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year award and only then realised what a big deal it was. I can honestly say after that night I do know how it feels to be in the life of Brad Pitt for one day with all the cameras flicking !! “
Q. What “secrets” have you “developed” that make our wines different to others ?
“I would not really say “secrets” but one of the main aspects that probably differentiate one from another is how well you manage to extract your varietal’s character for that specific vineyard and to balance it out with the correct oak. I do think it is very important to use the right oak with the right varietal and also to determine the right amount of it. I personally love to smell the vineyard in the wine and believe that oak must be used carefully and only to add some complexity to the wine.”
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“Technology has made our lives much easier, especially when you harvest a few hundred tonnes. The two types of machinery which I am most thankful for is probably a destemmer and a wine pump, without those two you can still manage. I also have to admit I still enjoy a good old punch down. I like to see it as an early morning gym session and have a good work out !! During modern winemaking you still tend to go back to the old ways for instance picking by hand ! I like using a mixture of the two worlds.”
Q. What of the future ?
“ I grew up in Robertson with a typical countryside living style where everyone knows everybody. It is a friendly town where the majority still greet each other in the town. My parents farm about 4 km from Bon Courage and I am spoiled to still enjoy daily lunch with my parents. If Robertson should ever host a master chef competition my mother would , without doubt, be the champion !” In a different tack “After school I got the opportunity to go to Johannesburg for a year to play rugby and became a full blooded Lions rugby supporter. I then returned to the Cape to go to Elsenburg where I received a great education. I had a very influential lecturer in the form of Lorraine Geldenhuys. After that I did few vintages overseas.” “My main challenge is to get to know the vineyards I am working with. I am very pleased with the 2016 reds and I can’t wait to see the process through.”