5 MINUTES WITH CHRISTO CROUS, OLDENBURG VINEYARDS VITICULTURIST…  

Christo Crous, Viticulturist

Oldenburg Vineyards is a very professional Wine Estate in the cooler Banghoek Valley part of the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation.

What was the defining moment in your life that set you on the path of becoming a viticulturist?
I always had a great love for nature and the outdoors. While growing up in the Western Cape driving past vineyards daily, I was always interested and fascinated by them.

Vintage photograph of Elsenburg Viticultural College

Where did you train?
Elsenburg College at Stellenbosch University.

Viticultural Hero, Rosa Kruger, Mentor to Christo Crous

Who would you regard as your mentor?
Rosa Kruger. World known vineyard consultant.

What do you enjoy most about being a viticulturist?
The excitement it provides on a daily basis- working with people, nature and being “hands on”. Being a viticulturist is a lifestyle for me, not just a job. I love seeing how everything I do in the vineyards have an impact on the wine. Without good quality grapes you can’t produce a good wine.

The Oldenburg Vineyards, Rondekop to the right

What vineyard practices do you use to minimize the impact on the environment?
Soil health is the most important thing for me, your soil is your foundation to create greatness. At Oldenburg we are moving away from herbicides, using cover crop to protect the soil and to benefit microbial life and in general to farm more sustainable together with nature. We are creating more habitat for natural predators by planting fynbos strips within our vineyards.

Cabernet Franc ripening on the Vine

Do you have any specific wine grape varieties you prefer working with, and if so, what is its special characteristics?
Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Chardonnay for being the most challenging white wine variety to work with and Cabernet Franc because what you do in the vineyards have a big impact on the end result of the wine.

As a farmer, what are the biggest challenges you must face in your role?
Working with all the elements that nature provides you and changing these elements to your own benefit.

Rondekop Per Se Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Do you have a favourite Wine – of course you do, which one? And what draws you to it?
Rondekop Per Se. I think it is an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon- elegant with well-balanced acidity that brings out the fruitfulness.

What is the one thing that you never expected, but have learned during your career as a Viticulturist?
That hard work pays off. What you put in is what you get out.

Moremi Botswana

What was your fondest wine moment?
Sitting at the Campsite in Moremi Botswana overlooking a waterhole with elephants playing around drinking a glass of Boekenhoutskloof Semillon Noble Late Harvest.

Your greatest bottle of wine ever?
Difficult to choose only one, but if I had to say German Riesling will have my vote.

Do you enjoy cooking to show your wines off at their best or do you leave that to others?
I don’t do a lot of cooking, I prefer leaving that to my wife. However, I enjoy a “lekker braai”.

Lamb Rib, perfect for a Christo Crous Braai

What do you enjoying cooking most?
I enjoy a nice lamb rib on the braai.

What is your favourite style of food?
Any meat dish.

Your best style of restaurant, you enjoy visiting? Why?
A good steakhouse. I enjoy a good steak with a nice glass of red wine.

Rassie Erasmus, Christo’s ideal dinner guest

Your ideal dinner party guest.  Tell me why you chose them.
My wife and my son, a party won’t be a party without them. Danie from the band Spoegwolf to entertain us with his guitar and good music. Rassie Erasmus for motivation and Connor McGregor for an Irish twist.

Your favourite holiday destination?
Botswana.

Ses Blinde Muise en ‘n Olifant by Jude Daly

What is on your bedside table as reading matter at the moment?
“Ses Blinde Muise en ‘n Olifant”. My 22month old son enjoys this every night before bedtime.

One piece of music you would take with you to a desert island.
Any good Afrikaans Sokkie Treffer.

Christo Crous in the Oldenburg Vineyards

I’m currently working on…
Pruning the vines for the new season as well as preparing for planting our new vineyards of Merlot and Chardonnay. Exciting times ahead.

My favourite weekend getaway is…
Any place in the Karoo with a hunting rifle in my hand.

Lay’s Chips, Sweet chili flavour

Guilty Pleasures?
La’ys Chips, Sweet chili flavour.

One day, I will look back …
At the impact I made on the wine industry and hopefully the impact in the lives of the people’s with whom I work. I work with improving not only vineyards and wine, but also people’s knowledge and skills for future.

How can a visitor contact your winery?
Telephone: 021 885 1618
Email: tastingroom@oldenburgvineyards.com
Website: www.oldenburgvineyards.com
You can also visit our Facebook page at Oldenburg Vineyards.

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