Brains be­hind the bot­tles

FACES BE­HIND THE CRE­ATIONS: EVER THOUGHT ABOUT WHO MADE YOUR FAVOURITE WINE? Five wine­mak­ers on road to suc­cess.

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Adri­aan Roets

Do you know your maker? Chances are not. While it’s easy to pick up a bot­tle of wine, in­ter­act­ing with wine­mak­ers is another ex­pe­ri­ence.

While trade shows and events like last week’s RMB WineX of­fers you un­ri­valled ac­cess, wine­mak­ers can still be con­sid­ered an elu­sive bunch. But, here’s a few movers and shak­ers that are do­ing new things.

JUSTIN VAN WYK

Wine­maker Justin van Wyk (who is re­spon­si­ble for cool cli­mate Con­stan­tia Glen wines since 2011) launched his own Van Wyk Fam­ily Wines range re­cently.

Not bad for some­one who joined Con­stan­tia Glen as as­sis­tant wine­maker in 2008.

His la­bel Van Wyk Fam­ily con­sists of four dif­fer­ent wines made from grapes sourced by him from spe­cially-se­lected vine­yards across the Western Cape. Th­ese wines are crafted at the Con­stan­tia Glen Win­ery.

The range of two whites and two reds il­lus­trates the Western Cape’s her­itage va­ri­eties.

It in­cludes a 2016 Chenin Blanc with grapes from a 37-year-old vine­yard in Breedek­loof (con­sid­ered SA’s best area for Chenin Blanc) with a splash of Ries­ling added. The sec­ond white, Olivia Grace 2016, is a unique Cape white blend of 43% Chenin Blanc, 26% Chardon­nay, 26% Ries­ling and 5% Viog­nier.

Re­becca May 2016 is a Cin­saut en Syrah blend. The Cin­saut is also from a Breedek­loof vine­yard. The range is com­pleted by his 2016 Syrah.

CHRIS AL­BRECHT

He was re­cently ap­pointed as wine­maker at Bouchard Fin­layson. His pro­mo­tion fol­lows seven years work­ing along­side Peter Fin­layson as as­sis­tant wine­maker.

Af­ter com­plet­ing a BSc Agri­cul­ture in Viti­cul­ture and Oenol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Stel­len­bosch, Al­brecht spent three years work­ing six vin­tages in three dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

In De­cem­ber 2010, Al­brecht started his ca­reer at Bouchard Fin­layson, cut­ting his teeth on Pinot Noir in the en­vi­ous po­si­tion as Peter Fin­layson’s as­sis­tant.

As from the 2017 har­vest, he was pro­moted to head of pro­duc­tion. His trav­els abroad in sup­port of mar­ket­ing ef­forts have in­cluded a study trip to Bur­gundy ear­lier this year, of­fer­ing fresh in­spi­ra­tion and bench­mark per­spec­tive.

It’s a big move, but it seems Al­brecht will con­tinue rop­ing in accolades for the es­tate.

AN­DREA MULLINEUX

Her flag­ship Mullineux Syrah 2015 has been a hit, but that’s not the only rea­son Mullineux was named Wine­maker of the Year 2016 by Wine En­thu­si­ast.

She’s the co-owner and wine­maker at Mullineux & Leeu Fam­ily Wines, based in the Swart­land re­gion at Round­stone Farm. She also has a Cal­i­for­nia brand, Fog Mon­ster Wines, and is a mem­ber of the Cape Wine­maker’s Guild.

Since the launch of the brand in 2007, Mullineux has notched up 18 five-star wine rat­ings from Plat­ter’s South African Wine Guide as well as be­ing named Win­ery of the Year in both 2014 and 2016.

TRIZANNE BARNARD

Barnard went solo with her own brand in 2008 af­ter years of build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence lo­cally at Klein Con­stan­tia, launch­ing An­wilka wines and var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional vin­tages.

Her fo­cus since her own first vin­tage has al­ways been on two very di­verse wine re­gions; Elim and the Swart­land.

Barnard lives in Kom­metjie and makes her wines in No­ord­hoek. Apart from mak­ing wine, judg­ing on var­i­ous pan­els and sam­pling the finest, she is an avid surfer who draws pa­tience and re­spect for na­ture from each aquatic ex­pe­ri­ence.

One of her ma­jor suc­cesses re­cently has been the TSW Sau­vi­gnon Blanc 2017. The grapes for this 100% Sau­vi­gnon Blanc are sourced from Elim.

MARELISE NIE­MANN

Nie­mann launched Mo­mento wines in 2011, work­ing with vines from all cor­ners of the Western Cape, search­ing for grape parcels that truly ex­press the re­gion and soil of the vine­yard.

Her wine-mak­ing ap­proach is gen­tle and hands-off, re­spect­ing the grape and its place, and al­low­ing the wine to ex­press its own char­ac­ter and ori­gin.

A re­cent suc­cess is her 2016 Gre­nach pro­duced from Swart­land and Paarde­berg fruit.

Al­though Grenache as a va­ri­etal is not well known and gen­er­ally re­mains out­side the lime­light, Marelise feels she is at the tip of a po­ten­tial zeit­geist.

LIGHT TOUCH. Marelise Nie­mann.

SOLO SUC­CESS. Trizanne Barnard.

AS­SIS­TANT TO MAS­TER. Chris Al­brecht.

WIN­NER. An­drea Mullineux.

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