“Windhoek, Namibia in 1972.”
Q. Where did you study ?
“ I am self taught. Learning by doing!” He continues “Although born in Namibia I grew up in South Africa and probably my interest in all things wine began at the tender age of 14 when I attempted to ferment table grapes and make wine ! I then pursued my passion for wine by entering the catering industry and was soon working as a Sommelier at restaurants that included Le Pont La Tour in London and the Grand Roche in Paarl and then earned my winemaking stripes as a contract winemaker in South Africa, Germany and Romania and, of course, making my own wine. My most recent winemaking adventure took me to China where I participated in the Nningxia Wine challenge.”
Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaking to be different to others ?
“I have developed my own style, which at times could be considered different to others and no formal training. I am different to the norm.”
Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?
“I am trying to get more involved in the vineyard but as I source all my grapes and don’t own any vineyard that is not all that easy. The farms I work with are becoming more used to me and, I think, appreciate me taking an interest in the vineyard.” “Having said that all the fruit I use is hand-picked and sorted on sorting tables before crushing.”
Q. Do you have any varieties that you prefer to work with ?
“I started out with shiraz and sauvignon blanc. I still enjoy shiraz but have added Riesling, chenin blanc, chardonnay and Grenache.”
Q. Have you been influenced by a particular winemaker or a region ?
“Mike Dobrovic was a great influence and, of course, travelling and working in various regions, particularly Germany with their fresh, clean white wines has definitely been an influence.”
Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?
“Starting my own brand and growing it over the past fourteen years. To me that is really an achievement to be proud of. I started very small with a sauvignon blanc and a shiraz from Franschhoek. My first shiraz I matured in the garage of a friend ! I now have five varietal wines and export to Namibia, Reunion, Europe, Australia, USA and China and sell locally as well.”
Q. What “ secrets” have you “developed “ that make your wines different to others ?
With a wry smile “It would no longer be secret if I told you! However my focus is on clean, fresh fruit driven wines and I try to employ various methods to achieve this. “
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“Even though I generally utilise the usual machinery and equipment, some modern winemaking equipment allows for interesting experimentation.” Then continues “I keep it as simple as I can in the cellar with minimum intervention and this is my basis for ensuring that my wines are fruit driven and elegant.”