5 minutes with Magnus Joubert, Viticulturist at Vondeling Wines, Voor Paardeberg…

Magnus Joubert, Viticulturist on Vondeling Wine Estate

Magnus Joubert is working his 7th vintage at Vondeling this year. This gentle giant grew up on a wine farm in Stellenbosch and as a result, wine grape growing runs in his veins. He obtained a qualification from Elsenburg the Wine College at Stellenbosch University in 2000 and has been working as a viticulturist in the wine industry ever since. Magnus lives on Vondeling with his wife, Ciska, and their two daughters, Mia and Lisa. When he’s not tending to Vondeling’s vineyards, he loves to spend time away in rural Transkei where the people are friendly and the coast line goes on forever.

Planting vines on Vondeling Estate

What do you enjoy most about being a viticulturist?
You plant a vine today and have the privilege to see it grow for 20, 30, 40 years. I also enjoy the fact that every year is different and brings its own challenges and that no two days are the same. The most satisfying aspect of my work is that I can literally taste the fruit of my labour.

Monsonia Speciosa growing on Vondeling Estate

Vondeling is a Conservation Champion. What vineyard practices do you use to minimise the impact on the environment?
We try and minimise the use of any chemicals as much as we can. Only target-specific products are used when spraying for diseases and pests, and only when absolutely necessary. We sow cover crops to build up organic matter in the soil, and this also suppresses weed growth. Soil water is constantly being measured to determine whether we should irrigate or not, which prevents over-irrigation and assists us to use this scarce natural resource as sparingly as possible. The most important thing about being a Conservation Champion, is to learn to farm in harmony with nature, and not to try and outsmart her.

Chardonnay ripening on the vine

Do you have any specific cultivars you prefer working with, and if so, what makes it so great?
I love working with Chardonnay. It is an upright grower and do not have a lot of side shoots, which means managing the vineyard’s canopy is easier.

Things vineyardists do in their spare time

As a farmer, what are the biggest challenges you must face in your role?
The last 3 years have been tough with the drought. This brought a lot of challenges and at times it was very difficult to manage our water supply and use it optimally. Ourthings dams literally ran dry and as a result we had to adapt our canopy management to ensure the vines do not stress too much and that we still produce quality grapes. Another challenge is the many hats a farmer wears daily. You must be a leader, doctor, priest, mechanic, accountant, and you must switch hats constantly. It can be challenging at times, but luckily the reward is worth it.

Please give us an overview of the 2019 harvest and what consumers can expect from Voor-Paardeberg for the 2019 vintage.
We had good winter rains in 2018 which ensured a good growing season with more available water. We are very fortunate to not have experienced any diseases in our vineyards. Volume-wise, the 2019 harvest is pretty much the as 2018, but the quality looks better, which makes the winemakers happy.

Vondeling Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Do you have a favourite Vondeling wine, and if so, which one? Why do you like this wine?
I like our Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a well-structured wine and one that can mature for several years. It drinks beautifully with a good piece of steak braaied over the coals, which is my favourite food.

What is the one thing that you never expected, but have learned during your career as a Viticulturist?
Sometimes you should trust your gut feeling more than science.

What is the one thing that you never expected, but have learned during your career as a Viticulturist?
I never expected that different clones of the same cultivar would play such an enormous role regarding quality and production. You can now select the clone combined with the correct rootstock for the wine you want to make, almost to a T.

Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage

What was your fondest wine moment?
As a viticulturist it was when I delivered my first load of grapes that I produced myself, but in the wine department, it must be when Vondeling’s 2015 Bowwood Pinotage won the JF Hillebrand Pinotage Trophy at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards last year.

Tassenberg, the iconic Stellenbosch Student Wine

Your greatest bottle of wine ever?
As a student, Tassies! Another great moment for me was the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2003.

Do you enjoy cooking to show your wines off at their best or do you leave that to others?
I love cooking and try different wines with different dishes. Sometimes it works and other times I am not so lucky.

Magnus mixes his own curry spice

If yes, what do you enjoying cooking most?
I love cooking a good curry! I mix my own curry spices.  And of course, as a Boer, braai is right up there!

What is your favourite style of food?
In the winter I enjoy Thai and Indian, probably because of the warming and aromatic flavours and spiciness, and in summer Mediterranean fare is best.

Dias Tavern in Cape Town – affectionately know as The Portuguese Embassy

Your best style of restaurant you enjoy visiting? Why?
I like going to Portuguese restaurants like Dias Tavern in Cape Town. It has such a relaxed atmosphere, and everybody is happy and in good spirit. You can order a lot of starters and try a variety of dishes. For a more upmarket vibe I prefer restaurants like Jackson and Black in Paarl – it’s close to home and they make a mean steak – or Fat Butcher in Stellenbosch. But with 2 little girls in the house, restaurants with play areas are more often than not the obvious choice. If the kids are happy, everyone is happy!

Your ideal dinner party guest, dead or alive.  Tell me why you chose them.
I’ve selected four guests because the more people can enjoy Vondeling wines, the better!

Sir David Attenborough

David Attenborough. He must be the person that has seen and experienced the most plants and animals on earth, and to hear about all of them should be an experience in itself.

Elon Musk. To pick his brain about technology innovations and to hear his thoughts about the future.

Cameron Diaz. Every dinner should have a beautiful woman at the table, and she is intelligent and funny.

Jonathan (Comedian from Radio Raps).  Just to make everybody laugh. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.

Your favourite holiday destination?
Namibia and Transkei

Sondag by Irma Venter

What is on your bedside table as reading matter at the moment?
Sondag by Irma Venter and 12 Rules for life by Jordan B Peterson

One piece of music you would take with you to a desert island.
Enya – Only Time

Winter pruning of trellised vines

I’m currently working on….
Wintertime is pruning time on the farm, and at home I am revamping my camping trailer.

My favourite weekend getaway is….
To go camping in the West Coast or go to the Karoo on my adventure motorbike.

Turkish Delight Chocolate

Guilty Pleasures?
Turkish delight chocolate

One day, I will….…grow up. Or at least, my wife hopes so!

How can a visitor contact your winery?

Vondeling Wine Estate

GPS S33 36’5.27”S E18 51’25.65”E

Tel nr: 021 869 8595

Email: info@vondelingwines.co.za

Website: www.vondelingwines.co.za

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August 4th, 2019|Categories: Michael's Writings|Tags: , , |