With a big grin “According to my Grandfather it was in Scottsdene in 1989 but I like to tell everyone that I was born in Stellenbosch as my Mom grew up in the Elsenburg farming community and my Dad grew up on the Kanonkop Wine Estate. So I come from a long family connection with the Stellenbosch wine industry.”
Q. Where did you study and what qualifications have you got ?
“I went to Elsenburg Agricultural College and graduated with a BA Agric specialising in winemaking in 2013.” He continues “While a student I worked in the Villiera tasting room and developed a love for Cap Classique.” “After graduating I worked vintages at De Morgenzon, Chando, the Moet operation in California, Villiera and Domaine Grier in France. The Griers got me to do the Cape Wine Academy certificate course.”
Q. Do you consider your approach to winemaking different to others ?
With a bright big smile “Yes of course ! Doing what everyone else does is boring. I’m pretty much open to anything new as long as it makes sense scientifically as well as financially !”
Q. How involved do you get in the vineyard ?
“So far not as much as I would like to but, now at Villiera, that will change in the near future.”
Q. Do you have any varieties you prefer to work with ?
No hesitation “Yes, Merlot, whether as a rose or red . It has been my focal point for quite some time now, regardless of the knock it got from Sideways . I also find Mediterranean varieties exciting to work with, even more than Merlot, actually.”
Q. Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or by a wine region ?
“ No, one in particular . I suppose I’ve been influenced by different winemakers from different regions over time.”
Q. What would you consider your greatest achievement yet as a winemaker ?
With another big smile “To still have good teeth by the time I reach 50, but as a so called “snotgat” in the industry my biggest achievement is becoming just that, a winemaker.”
Q. What “secrets” have you “developed” that make your wines different to others ?
Another big smile “I could tell you, but then I’ll have to kill you !! A lot of what the younger winemakers are doing or trying nowadays are often frowned upon by the more experienced winemakers and vice versa. However, that’s life, like Don Corleone once said “The new overthrow the old , it’s natural.”
Q. How important is modern winemaking equipment in your winemaking ?
“My personal winemaking philosophy is a hands off approach . So modern winemaking equipment plays a very small role, if any, in my approach to winemaking.”
Q. How about the future ?
“Villiera is a very positive place to work which suits my positive can do attitude and the future gives me a great sense of adventure.”
Q. What do you do for recreation ?
“I keep fit by power lifting and play a bit of rugby.”