5 minutes with Heinrich Bothman – De Wetshof Sommelier Extraordinaire…

Heinrich Bothman, De Wetshof Sommelier Extraordinaire

What was the motivation for you to become a sommelier? Tell us how it all happened…
Started my corporate career in the bank as a Branch Coordinator and ironic enough the banks name is FNB and within the hospitality industry you will find an F&B Manager (food and beverage). I call this destiny, which led to 12 years’ worth of experience within the volatile agriculture sector. The first part of my career I worked for almost 4 years as an accounts payable clerk. The rest of my career I focused on the hospitality side of the industry. I consider the latter part as one of the most important pillars of the cycle. Without good service there will be no good return on the hard earned investments of harvesting each season. This is a fundamental tool to have, service. Service always intrigues me and Cape Sommelier program was close enough to explore and I realised that the Robertson District DOES NOT HAVE ONE. I opted to study as hard as I could and offer my time up to work long hours after work (at Restaurants and even giving up a week’s leave to go and work at The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West) to achieve this goal. I got the title as the First Certified Cape Sommelier and the 28th one in the Cape Wine Academy’s history.

Heinrich, doing what he does best

What has been the biggest surprise about your career as a sommelier?
That I never cooked and or had an interest in food, until I bought a house and had to cook for myself and that was the building blocks for something greater. Food and Wine (Beverage) is in a sense the ying and yang of cultures which encourages the connectedness among us. Cooking while pairing it with an appropriate wine is a lot of fun and this improves memory too. The ability to conjure up something amazing through applied knowledge and experience is so fulfilling and a journey. Biggest surprise is a Restaurant using my signature dessert (which I used for my Cape Sommelier practical) as a dessert on their menu! Rooibos Infused Tonka Bean Ice-cream.

Heinrich Bothman, Film Star in the De Wetshof Tasting Room

And then you became the public face of De Wetshof Wines on the Estate. How did that happen?
Working in the wine industry now for more than 12 years and I call it luck of draw. Got offered a job a long time ago and from there I tried to learn as much as I could and I think that, that might of helped to land a job at De Wetshof through the hunger for more knowledge. The first male, Public Relations Officer and Tasting Room Manager at De Wetshof Estate.

The Patriarch of De Wetshof, Danie de Wet

What gives you the most pleasure of working as at De Wetshof?
Learning from the BEST, it’s a small/medium family owned estate that does a lot in quick turnaround times. Efficiency is the word that describes it perfectly and not to mention to rub shoulders with the industry leaders like Danie de Wet!

Which five words best describe you?
Humorous, Writer, Student, Imaginative, Enthusiastic

De Wetshof Riesling

What are five things you can’t live without?
Good Kitchen Knives, Chardonnay, Riesling, Books, Family

What is your favourite meal to make in 30 minutes, which De Wetshof wine would you pair with it, and why?
Sweet Spicy Chorizo Chutney Chicken with De Wetshof’s Rhine Riesling – recipe my own.

What is your funniest work memory?
Losing a bet and getting to dress up inappropriately for the whole day! (I won’t disclose what I had to wear!)

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Creating memories through liquid, wine has that ability to connect with any person on sensorial wavelength that connects more synapses in your living grey matter.

De Wetshof Bon Vallon

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?
Bon Vallon is by far my favourite, my version of SA’s Chablis. Racy, Creamy, Green Citrus character that’ll impress any Chef with good imagination, pairing options are endless!

Super Tuscan Ornellaia 1988

Your greatest bottle of wine ever?
An Ornellaia 1988 – a super Tuscan from the Toscana region. Wrote an amazing 5 star note about it on Vivino. Blew my socks off, whilst enjoying it in 2018 in Germany of all places!

Heinrich and his daughter on a Vineyard Run

What are your interests beyond wine? How do you spend your time relaxing?
Recently started my fitness regime and love taking hikes and the occasional park-run (if ever permitted again) and recently completed the Comrades Virtual run of 21.1km’s. Reading relaxes me and gets me to learn from someone else in a short period of time.

What is your favourite style of food?
Cape Malay and Indian Cuisine.

MOKSH Restaurant Butter Chicken

Your best style of restaurant, you enjoy visiting? Why?
Cape Malay and Indian Cuisine, which makes it very hard to find the right one in my town. These are non-existing in Robertson. Robertson the people with spice though! I love the nuance of HEAT, SALT, FAT and ACID – this is the building blocks to make any ordinary dish seem out of this world. FLAVOUR is key at MOKSH Restaurant; please do try the Prawn Kadai (Tiger prawns with julienned green pepper, onions & tomato with a hint of yogurt topped with ginger & freshly chopped coriander).

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with his Teremana Tequila

Your ideal dinner party guest?
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would love to have his Tequila as part of the degustation menu. Love his work ethic and perseverance and in some odd way he reminds me of himself. Quirky and hustling (which I’m aspiring to) and fantastic humour.

Plettenberg Bay, Eastern Cape

Your favourite holiday destination?
SA of course, we have the most breath taking views on earth. Plettenberg Bay anytime.

What is on your bedside table as reading matter at the moment?
Robin Sharma’s – 5AM Club

UB40 – named for an unemployment Benefits Form

One piece of music you would take with you to a desert island?
UB40 – RED RED WINE, music for the soul and added bonus when wine is mentioned.

I’m currently working on….
My own Wine Brand and studying as usual, studying currently for diploma in wine and various other learning interventions.

My favourite weekend getaway is….
Hermanus anytime, almost got a job there (whilst working for FNB)!

Michael Olivier’s Malva Pudding, click HERE for the recipe

Guilty Pleasures?
Bourbon with Malva Poeding!

One day, I will….
Be the owner/winemaker of the FIRST black owned brand in Robertson, “negocianting” good luminous wine for the novice and aesthetic purity for the expert.

De Wetshof  Wine Estate

How can a visitor contact your winery?

De Wetshof Wine Estate

Telephone 023 615 1853

Email frontdesk@dewetshof.com

Website www.dewetshof.com

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