Charl du Plessis, winemaker of Spice Route Wines
I said recently in a piece that I wrote, I would happily drink any wine from Spice Route, just friendly wines and perfect food partners.
Charl du Plessis has been winemaker for Spice Route for the past 15 years. I wanted to get to know him better.
Where were you born?
I was born Mossel Bay – Southern Cape.
What was the defining moment in your life which set you on the path of becoming a winemaker?
To be very honest – when I saw the cellar technology students with stained shirts and dirty hands at the Elsenburg cellar, I decide this is what I want to do.
Charl du Plessis with assistant winemaker Licia Solomons
Where did you train to become a winemaker?
I studied at Elsenburg from 1989 to 1991.
Who would you regard as your mentor?
Since I have been making wine from 1992, I have worked under a few mentors and winemakers, but after 15 years of working with Charles Back, he is definitely the biggest influence of my winemaking career. Apart from a very good entrepreneur and business man, he is also an exceptional winemaker, only a few people would know that.
Charles Back, Owner of Spice Route with Charl du Plessis
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?
If you could choose anywhere in the world to make wine other than where you are now, where would it be?
South of France, good wine, good food, humble people and good cycling… viva La Tour!!
Spice Route Grenache 2014
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?
The Spice Route Grenache Noir
Your greatest bottle of wine ever?
The 1978 Chevrey Chambertin
Do you enjoy cooking?
I like cooking, but I’m an obvious South African, I will braai every day.
If yes what do you enjoying cooking most?
It takes time and it is very tiring, but enjoy spearfishing some Galjoen, catching crayfish and the odd Perlemoen