“I was born in Cape Town on 16th September 1978”
Q. Where did you study ?
“Initially I studied Agriculture at Elsenburg in 2003 and 2004. I then travelled overseas and that was when my passion for winemaking developed. However , growing up in the Winelands I had developed an interest in my childhood”
Q. You went back to Elsenburg ?
“Yes. My interest wine really evolved while I was overseas so when I returned I went back to Elsenburg to finish my cellar technology.”
Q. And after Elsenburg ?
“I then set out to gain as much experience as I could in as short a period as possible. I worked in esteemed cellars such as Asara, Jordan, Vrede en Lust, Amani and Morgenster.”
Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaking to be different to others ?
“Every terroir you work with is different to another. You have to develop your own unique cellar and vineyard methods and practice that suits the particular terroir.”
Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?
“I believe quality begins in the vineyard and therefore I try to be in the vineyard as much as possible. One needs to get to know your vineyards better year by year so that you are able to read your vineyards better and adapt and fine-tune your vineyard practices according to conditions for that specific year.”
Q. Do you have any varieties you prefer to work with ?
“ I like working with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or wine region ?
“Before working at Fort Simon I have tried to place myself with leading winemakers and cellars to learn from each of them. For the first five years in the industry I worked with Carmen Stevens. I also had the privilege to work alongside Rudi at D’Aria, Jacques at Morgenhof . Sjaak at Jordan and Susan at Vrede en Lust”
Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?
“ Bringing out the best characteristics of the current vintage and improving on previous years.”
Q. What “secrets” have you “developed” that make your wines differ to others ?
“ Well, if I told you it would no longer be a secret !”
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“I always welcome new technology, equipment and ideas and I like to experiment which might reflect in my wines.”
Q. Before winemaking did you have any other careers in mind ?
“From as long as I can remember I have had a deep love for nature. I had wanted to be a Game Ranger but I was told there was no future as a Ranger and certainly no money ! As it happens I feel I made my place in the world of wine.”
Q. And now ?
“Working at Fort Simon which in the heart of the Bottelary I have the opportunity to work a range of terroir’s and hillsides that go up to 310 metres. These rising slopes give unique and many varied elements in my wine creating rich , layered and complex wines.”
Q. Do you have any dreams ?
“I would like to establish a successful brand that will help raising funds for wildlife conservation”.
Q. What is your greatest joy ?
“My wonderful family, Maryke my wife and Jean Jacques (18 months) and Philip Dirk (two months)