Interview with Neill Gellatly - Klawer Wine Cellars new white wine maker

Monday, 13 November, 2017
Klawer Wine Cellar
I had an interview with one of our new winemakers, Neill Gellatly. He’s 27 years old, and a man with a lot of working experience.

He started on the 1st of November 2017 here at Klawer Wine cellars and will be working in the white wine cellar. We look forward to having him on our team.

Neill Gallatly Q&A

Where were you born?
Born in Bellville, but lived in Stellenbosch all my life.

Where did you study?
I studied at Elsenburg and Stellenbosch university.

What attracted you to winemaking and when did you realize that you had a passion for making wine?
Well, I lived in Stellenbosch, so I’ve always been around wine and the making processes of wine. I did my first harvest when I was 8 years old, and I think the passion just started from there.

How familiar are you with this area and how is it different from where you have worked before?
I worked in the Hemel & Aarde valley for quite some time. It’s more to the coast side which makes it different from Klawer wine cellars. I went overseas and worked in the Napa Valley. The Napa Valley is more technology driven than most places here. I also worked in Tasmania in Australia where the climates were cold.
I know this area due to holidays with my parents when I was younger, and I also traveled here for camping trips with friends etc.

Which cultivar fits your personality best and why?
With a grin on his face - “If I could be any wine, I would be a nice MCC, live life and have a ball of a time." And he sure has a “bubbly” personality. “On a more serious note, I will be like a fine red wine - age good!”

Favourite red and white grape variety to work with?
Red - Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re both interesting cultivars and very diverse.
White - I love working with Chenin and Chardonnay for the simple reason that they are so versatile.

Going away for the weekend- What’s your “go to drink”?
With a shy smile - “I like my brandy and coke!”

What about the future- What do you still want to achieve?
I would like to have my own wine range someday and maybe having my own little cellar.

What’s your winemaking philosophy? What do you want to achieve with the wine here at Klawer Wine Cellars?
I want to create stories with the wine, give wine character and taking people on an adventure when drinking Klawer wines.

Working in a corporate cellar can be tough, what do you think will be the most challenging part of working for Klawer?
I’m not used to working with a lot of people in the cellar, I usually had teams consisting out of 5 people and then definitely the bigger capacities of wine I’m working with.

What do you do to relax - Do you have hobbies?
Without hesitation - “I love fishing and hunting, in other words, I just enjoy nature and of course music!”

Have you been influenced by any winemaker in particular over the years?
Definitely Johan Malan the cellar master at Simonsig. He did tastings with me with some spectacular wines. I learned to always strive for the better.

We will interview another new winemaker in December when he’ll be starting here, so keep an eye open for that! He’s 22 years old and hungry for new adventures! We can’t wait to hear what he’s got to say.

Neill Gellatly
Neill Gellatly

more news