What was the defining moment in your life that set you on the path of becoming a winemaker?
TH: My older brother bought a restaurant in Kleinmond while I was still in School, and I spent my holidays helping out there. The intricacies of the food and wine pairings as well as the level of sophistication in each wine that we tasted really intrigued me and got me set on my career path. Also not being able to imagine myself stuck behind a desk for 10 hours a day was a major drawcard.
TVA: It was in my blood! With both parents coming from wine, and a grandmother thrown in the mix with an equal passion, it was meant to be.
Where did you train to become a winemaker?
TH: I studied Agriculture at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and focused on wine growing and winemaking.
TVA: I studied viticulture in Germany, and also completed internships in Germany, Australia and France.
Who would you regard as your mentor?
TH: I think my 5 year stint at Jordan Winery in Stellenbosch moulded me into the winemaker I am today. The care and attention to detail that Gary, Cathy and Sjaak showed and instilled in me is something that sets wineries and winemakers apart.
You work with a selection of some of the world’s most noble grape varieties. Is there one other variety with which you would really like to work?
TH: So we have just snuck some Syrah into the cellar, and for the 1st time in the history of Haute Cabriére, managed to bring in some Semillon as well. Semillon is something that excels in the Franschhoek valley and a variety that I had never worked with before so I was very excited to see how it develops in our cellar.
Is there another wine you would like to make in your cellar with the varieties available to you there?
TH: We have been playing with the idea of letting our old vine Chardonnay try pick up some Botrytis for a Noble Late Harvest, so if the climate allow us, we will definitely give it a go.
You seem to be quite innovative with new wine styles – what leads you there?
TH: The innovative spirit that our founder Achim von Arnim had is definitely a motivating factor; we do not simply want to follow the path most trodden. I also believe in learning from what the past has taught us, so creating something that in unique for Haute Cabriére but also fulfil the requirements of the cellar team.
TVA: It may sound up in the air, but a genuine pursuit of perfection and passion for creating wine gets me up in the morning.
If you could choose anywhere in the world to make wine other than where you are now, where would it be?
TH: Wow, hard question… I am in awe of Franschhoek at the moment and the diversity that it shows. However, I still have a soft spot for New Zealand and the Pinot Noirs from Central Otago, so that would definitely be a good 2nd place.
TVA: Germany, Mosel. My mom Hildegard was also born there.
And what grape type would you use?
TH: Without a doubt I would stay true to Pinot Noir.
TVA: It would have to be Riesling!
I know it is a bit tricky asking a father to choose his favourite child, but which one of your wines is your current favourite?
TH: Our new Haute Collection wines really show what Haute Cabriére is about, and the Chardonnay Amphora is top of my list at the moment. Amphora is still relatively new for us, making our 1st wines in it in 2017, however the age-ability of the wine is very unique and I get very excited every time we open a bottle.
TVA: Our Haute Collection Chardonnay – the wine that started the creation of the Haute Collection – our latest range of wine, site-specific to Franschhoek. It ticks all the boxes for me. We are also about to launch a tasting at the winery, dedicated to this range.
Your greatest bottle of wine ever?
TH: I have been fortunate enough to visit Burgundy and taste Grand Cru’s straight out of barrel, which will stay with me forever, but the greatest bottle that really opened my eyes was a 1988 Magnum of Champagne Salon.
TVA: A bottle of Champagne Salon, 1985 vintage, in shorts in Dijon, France!
What is your favourite style of food?
TH: I am loving anything Asian at the moment.
Your best style of restaurant, you enjoy visiting? Why?
TH: Tapas styled restaurants are definitely top of my list at the moment. The flavour combinations to pair with wine are very exciting.
TVA: I enjoy Chefs Warehouse and The Test Kitchen- their passion is something I share, so enjoy experiencing it in other fields.
Your ideal dinner party guest. Just one. Tell me why you chose them.
TH: The South African Wine industry is full of colourful characters that would make for fantastic dinner party guests, but I would have to venture outside the Wine Industry and sit down with Elon Musk. His view on norms and disruptive technologies is exactly the mentality that the Wine industry needs to survive this trying time.
TVA: My wife Christiane, a formidable women that completes and supports me.
Your favourite holiday destination?
TH: Lisbon, Portugal. Love the country, the people and the wine!
What is on your bedside table as reading matter at the moment?
TH: Around Africa on my bicycle by Riaan Manser.
One piece of music you would take with you to a desert island?
TH: Without a doubt, Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones.
TVA: Ace of Spaces – Motorhead
I’m currently working on….
TH: My daughters upgraded doll house.
My favourite weekend getaway is….
get an early morning cycle in, the family can relax and we can enjoy a bottle of wine watching the sunset!TH: Somewhere a quick 1.5hrs drive away, where I can
TH: Sneaking away from work early to get a quick mountain bike ride in…it doesn’t happen often enough.
TVA: I am a bit of a hedonist – so I don’t see any pleasures as guilty, but am known to dabble in vegetable growing – currently it is ginger.
One day, I will… Sleep past 6am on a Saturday!
How can a visitor contact your winery?
Telephone 021 876 8500
Read more about Haute Cabrière Wine Estate click here – www.cabriere.co.za