Feted new wave of wine makers have a zest for storytelling

Monday, 20 November, 2017
winewizard.co.za, Michael Fridjhon
Much has been written lately about South Africa's New Wave winemakers, with a couple of articles on Jancis Robinson’s website in the past week alone (and literally hundreds of thoughtfully assembled tasting notes available to purple pages subscribers).

Many of the wines are produced in minuscule quantities, often from sites identified by The Old Vine Project inspired by viticulturist Rosa Kruger and underwritten by Johann Rupert (a gesture of considerable generosity which deserves greater recognition than it has hitherto received).

There is no really easy definition of what constitutes this “new wave.” Judging from the group which made such a huge impact in London recently, it's a spread which runs from the one barrel wonders to the more established producers who make everything from small parcels to high volume commercial wine. If there is a common thread it is the sense of craft which unites the various submissions. Your day job may oblige you to put together large volumes of well-priced drinking wines whose production demands the kind of compromises which most people make in their everyday lives, but at least you have one wine into which you can pour your creative heart.

Many of the group have been around for a bit: a few, mainly those who inspired the movement and who – explicitly and implicitly - determined its guidelines are now comfortably past the first flush of youth. Their names have become synonymous with the Cape's break from its past: Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, David Trafford. But many are just setting out, short on capital, dependent on others for cellar space to make and store their few barrels, often buying their fruit from growers whose venerable vines lie interspersed among other more mundane vineyards and alongside the detritus of thankless and profitless mixed agriculture: rusty tractors and scrap farming implements.

To read more online, click here.

Thomas Davidson

Thomas joined wine.co.za in May 2019 after graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BA in History & Ancient Cultures and completing a certificate in Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School in Stellenbosch. He moonlights as a radio presenter at MFM - and has an incredible passion for wine. 
We are delighted to have him on the team.