“I was born in Bellville in May 1972.”
Q. Where did you study ?
“I did Viticulture and Oenology at Elsenberg where I finished in 1994. I was appointed at Meerendal in 1998. The first ever female winemaker in Durbanville let alone Meerendal which was founded in 1702 and had it’s first wine bottled in1969 !”
Q. That must have been quite daunting ?
With a delightful smile “I guess so but I had been well taught and was willing to work with nature rather than against and that made it all much easier. Not that winemaking is really easy !”
Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaking to be different to others ?
“I suppose not really although I prefer not to intervene too much in the cellar. I am not a great fan of using the latest enhancing products that the industry bombard you with. I want to bring out the best of what the vineyards give me for any particular year and avoid the chemicals !”
Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?
“A lot. I keep an eye on the spraying programme as well as the canopy management . My involvement in the vineyard is equal to that in the cellar.”
Q. Do you have any particular varieties you prefer to work with ?
Immediate response. “Yes I love working with sauvignon blanc and Merlot. These varieties always surprise me, as you never know what to expect with the new vintage. Nature has a big influence on what these varieties will do year to year. Pinotage , Shiraz and Cab are more predictable.”
Q. However you have made some great wines from those varieties ?
“Yes especially the Heritage Block pinotage and my new Merlot Prestige.”
Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or by a wine region ?
“ Not so much, although the winemakers in Durbanville do share a lot of info. We help each other out. So I would rather say that my biggest influence is definitely my Durbanville colleagues. Then my visit to Italy opened my eyes, especially the southern part with their white wines.” Then continues “I still believe that wine should encapsulate a place in time. As a product it doesn’t play by the same rules as mass produced consumer goods , It is always differs year to year and place to place. My intention is to make the best and most interesting wines from Meerendal’s vineyards with a willingness to work with Mother Nature rather than against he.”
Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?
Answers jokingly “Still surviving as a woman in a cellar after 18 years !”
Q. What “secrets” have you “developed” that make your wines different to others ?
“There are no secrets …… I work with what Nature gives me each year.”
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“It plays a big role….It makes the process, quicker and easier. It is beneficial to producing quality wines, especially when you are in an industry with so much competition.”
Q. What of the future ?
“I will answer that with a quick review. I began my career in winemaking at Meerendal in 1998 as an assistant winemaker and then 2005 and 2006 I was the viticulturist at Meerendal then moved back to the cellar as Cellar Master and have since taken over the whole process. From vineyard to cellar and even involved in the marketing. So I have a pretty full plate ! It will no doubt get even fuller as the future of wine in South Africa looks very promising. I do wish we would get more support from the Government on the international scene and especially in research and training. I also hope to see the growers and producers getting better prices for their products. Especially where the big retail companies are involved. Words like rebates and discounts come to mind….”