5 minutes with Izak de Vries, Winemaker at De Wetshof Wine Estate in Robertson…

Izak de Vries, Winemaker at De Wetshof – looks like his wedding day

What was the defining moment in your life that set you on the path of becoming a winemaker?
After we moved to Robertson, on the farm my dad bought in 1997, my dad and a good friend experimented to make some wine, on a very small scale. The first few years wasn’t as successful as they thought, my dad was an accountant and his friend a lawyer at the time. Only after the 3rd year, they made a drinkable Shiraz and bottled it. While making it, me and my dad’s friend’s son, was dancing up and down on the grapes to crush them. By that time I was 7 years old. Since then I can remember all the experiments they did, and later I also got involved. This is where my passion for winemaking started.

Where did you train to become a winemaker?
Elsenburg

Lesca and Danie de Wet in the Douro Valley, northern Portugal

Who would you regard as your mentor?
Most definitely Danie de Wet

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?
Besides Chardonnay, I would like to try and make a Zinfandel.

A perfect bunch of Zinfandel [also known as Primitivo]

You seem to be quite innovative with new wine styles – what leads you there?
In my opinion it is the correct style. I tend to focus not just on the varietal characters, but also to preserve the beauty of the site specific characters.

If you could choose anywhere in the world to make wine other than where you are now, where would it be?
If I have to choose, I’ll choose California.

Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2017

And what grape type would you use?
Chardonnay

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?
De Wetshof Bon Vallon

2014 Hartford Dina’s Vineyard Zinfandel

Your greatest bottle of wine ever?
2014 Hartford Dina’s Vineyard Zinfandel

What is your favourite style of food?
Proper and fresh seafood

Burgundy Restaurant Hermanus

Your best style of restaurant, you enjoy visiting? Why?
Anywhere next to the ocean with good wine.

Your ideal dinner party guest?
One of my oldest and best friends, Philip-John du Toit. With him, there is never an awkward or a dull moment. He is an entertainer and a gentleman that will make sure the woman’s glasses are full. He will tell stories to make the guests cry with laughter and most probably make it the best night for most!

Your favourite holiday destination?
Mozambique

One piece of music you would take with you to a desert island.  
A night at the opera – Queen

I’m currently working on….getting everything ready for the upcoming harvest. On the side I have started to make a limoncello to hand out to my family and friends over the holidays.

My favourite weekend getaway is…. to load our dirt bikes and go with friends to do some extreme Enduro riding up in the mountains. I don’t just enjoy the riding, but also the site seeing of our beautiful valley.

Guilty Pleasures? Yes please

Izak and friends at Cape Agulhas

One day, I will….like to take my dad up a mountain on his farm overlooking the vineyards, with a spectacular glass of Chardonnay that I have made with grape that he produced.

How can a visitor contact your winery?
Call Heinrich at our front desk
Telephone 023 615 1853

Email winemaker@dewetshof.com

Website www.dewetshof.com

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