"My father was a winemaker for 40 years, consequently I grew up in a cellar. He encouraged me to become a winemaker, and it was the only career I ever wanted.
We have to be both creative and very practical, which is quite an unusual combination. There is always variety, no vintage is ever the same. It is a profession that is very social and conducive to friendship – there is nothing better than opening a good bottle of wine that you have made and enjoying it with friends.
I made a special wine for my first daughter’s birth – only 2 barrels, but it was a labour of love. Her name is Elizabeth so we called it “Zabeth” – 2003 vintage. She actually designed the label - she was nearly 3 years old when it was bottled, and 5 when we opened the first bottle.
I was part of the team at de Wetsof that made Bateleur Chardonnay that won many awards including a double gold at Veritas. I was also part of the team at Dietlefs which achieved a gold medal at the Swiss Airline wine awards for it’s Semillon – this was an Estate which had achieved very little prior to this.
If I could offer one piece of advice on what makes a good winemaker it would be to get the basics right, and pay very close attention to the details. Unfortunately there are too may regulations and rules, leading to paperwork and getting in the way of making wine, which I have to me is an art. If I wasn't working in the wine Industry I can imagine myself being an artist, something where people can recognise and appreciate your talents."
Classy South African winemaker at an award winning vineyard