“I was born in Cape Town. On 17th August 1984. I did my schooling at Bishops.”
Q. How come Cape Town when the family lived in Robertson ?
“Not really surprising as we are direct desendants of the De Wets of Koopmans Dewet house in Strand Street Cape Town. The façade of our offices on the farm is a replica of the building in Strand Street. Our new red blend is called Thibault as he was the architect of the Strand Street building.”
Q. Where did you study ?
“I Followed my Father’s footsteps and went to Geisenheim on the Rhine in Germany and studied Weinbou Engineer. (Engineering in viticulture and oenology. )
Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaking to be different to others ?
“I try to keep the purity of the varietal and site. This was pretty much instilled into me at Geisenheim and at various places I subsequently worked at.”
Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?
“ I get very involved . We have a full time viticulturist and get some of the world’s best advice from Phil Freese from California, and also our own Francois Viljoen. However I still get into the vineyard as often as I can and I allocate Monday’s to be in the vineyards. It is essential to know what is going on with your raw material.” He then adds “I also have a father who was a pioneer of various varieties in the Robertson area.”
Q. Do you have any varieties you prefer to work with ?
“Obviously Chardonnay. De Wetshof is famous for it’s Chardonnay. But also Pinot Noir and Merlot.”
Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or by a wine region ?
“I have got two great mentors. The chief winemaker of Dr Dienhart in Germany and Peter Ferreira of Graham Beck. I worked with both for six months each.” “In 2006 I also worked in St Emillion with Vignoble Despagne in Bordeaux. In 2007 and 2008 I spent time in Burgundy with Domaine Bertagne and Chablis with Domaine Laroche. In 2009 I spent time in Champagne with Nicolas Maillart and 2010 in Napa and Sonoma. Of course, most of my experience has been hard earned on De Wetshof with my father and the De Wetshof team.” “As you know my father registered De Wetshof as the first wine estate in the Robertson area and pioneered the role that chardonnay has played in high quality wine not only here but in the world.”
Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?
With a coy smile “I am still working on it !”
Q. What “secrets” have you “developed” that make your wines different to others ?
“No secrets. Just try and preserve what we get from nature.”
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“Most winemaking equipment is there to make life easier. There is not much that actually improves quality.
Q. What has given you most satisfaction recently ?
“The production of our Methode Cap Classique and the Thibault Red Blend. “ and continues somewhat shyly “….and being a runner up in The Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the year Awards .”