A group of friends created Thistle and Weed in 2015 as an opportunity to express their creativity, get their hands dirty and craft small batch wines from the distant nooks and crannies of the Cape. We asked one of their winemakers, Stephanie, to share more about their wines.
Q&A with winemaker – Thistle and Weed
1. How did your career as a winemaker start and where did you train?
I completed my BScAgric in Viticulture and Oenology in 2008 at the University of Stellenbosch. 2008 was my first vintage, under the guidance of Chris Williams at Meerlust. In 2009 I started as an intern at Fairview Winery and later that year harvested in Bordeaux. I returned to Fairview, appointed as assistant winemaker in 2010 and did a harvest in the UK at Nyetimber. In 2013 I was appointed winemaker at Fairview and am still enjoyed working under Anthony de Jager and Charles Back! I completed my MScAgric in Viticulture in 2015.
2. How long have you been the winemaker at Thistle and Weed?
Etienne Terblanche and I started this project together in 2016. Etienne is also a qualified winemaker but prefers the fresh air and outdoors and focuses his energy in viticulture.
3. Which cultivar lies close to your heart?
Chenin blanc, I love the complexity and diversity in wine styles you get from different terroirs
4. What makes Thistle and Weed special?
We’re passionate about our wines, the whole package – from the soil, leaves, grapes, yeast, label design. Every aspect has been curated to bring a unique product to our customers. We’re adventurous and happy to try something new, like the Alicante Bouschet cultivar which is part of the Nastergal blend.
5. What do you do when you’re not between the vineyards or in the cellar?
There is not too much spare time left when you are nurturing a new business 😊 You’ll find me in the garden, exploring trails around Stellenbosch with my two staffies or entertaining friends at home.
6. If your favourite wine had to be described as a person, how would you describe them?
Quiet at first, opening up to reveal their true self
7. What is your most popular wine?
We only make two – Duwweltjie and Nastergal. I would guess Nastergal judging by the rate it sold out.
8. Which pairings work best with your wine included in the wine4friends case?
*Duwweltjie & truffle risotto / pork belly
*Nastergal & tomato based pasta / roast lamb
9. Are you a wine-drinking purist or do you also enjoy beer and other drinks?
I’m a wine or gin & tonic type of person. Aperol is also a new favourite!
10. What is the best way for people to try to learn more about wine?
Find a friend to share the excitement, visit wine farms or buy a few wines either same cultivar from different regions or same regions different cultivar and taste the difference, talk about & read about it.
11. What is your favourite wine of all time?
Tough one, Silex by Didier Dagenueaux is the latest. I got to visit the winery last year which was amazing!
12. If you could choose any 5 people to have for dinner who would they be and why?
My husband Kannas,
Sheryl Sandberg – she’s an inspiration
Elon Musk – so my husband can chat to someone
Then I would fill the table with friends and family