- How did your career as a wine maker start and where did you train?
Growing up I wanted to be an engineer, but at the end of matric year my math grades weren’t good enough. I decided to study something else for a year and then to rewrite, but quickly realised that the winemaking course I started studying at Stellenbosch University was a lot more interesting than engineering.
I love the technical side of winemaking, and the philosophy and the endless quest to make better wine.
- How long have you been the wine maker at [wine farm]?
I have been on my own for seven years now, but was previously a winemaker at Warwick for seven years, and Hidden Valley for two years. In those days you could change jobs every few years to learn more.
- Which cultivar lies close to your heart?
Cabernet sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are my favourites. They are just so expressive and honest. They cannot lie.
- What makes [wine farm] special?
I get grapes from all over, and can choose the best. When you have a farm you always have a few blocks that are the black sheep that you have to make a blend with, while I just have to use the best.
- What do you do when you’re not between the vineyards or in the cellar?
I love lots of different genres of music and love food. I love meeting new people and discovering new places.
- If your favourite wine had to be described as a person, how would you describe them?
Big, bold, unapologetic.
- What is your most popular wine?
The Buckleberry Sauvignon is by far the most popular because of the upfront fruit flavours, and the bright yellow label.
- Which pairings work best with your wine included in the wine4friends case?
The Titanic Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with steak and stews as well as mild curries. It is versatile, and can even be served slightly chilled in summer.
- Are you a wine-drinking purist or do you also enjoy beer and other drinks?
I drink lots of beer during the summer. As the Australian saying goes, “it takes a lot of beer to make good wine”.
- What is the best way for people to try to learn more about wine?
Live it, talk about it, find likeminded friends to share and learn from.
- What is your favourite wine of all time?
There would be favourite events in wine, rather than favourite wines. Having Tassenberg on a Chateau’s stoep in Bordeaux with an old university friend is one. Having a stunning Sauvignon blanc with a great view during holiday would be another
- If you could choose any 5 people to have for dinner who would they be and why?
Hunter S Thompson – Writer. His outlook on life, and the way he thinks about things are inspiring.
Anthony Bordain – Chef and writer. He is just a no nonsense guy who does not suffer fools, or people with pretense.
Elon Musk – Entrepeneur. I would love to know how his brain works.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Writer and all-round brilliant person. A person who lived so much in his life and had so much clarity about what people think, and how vulnerable we are.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Author of books on philosophy and statistics. He has such a clear way of looking at things, and just cuts through the fog of what seems the obvious answer, but is not.