Vineyards have always intrigued Emile. Growing up in the Northern suburbs, Emile and his brother took it upon themselves to visit as many wine farms as possible. This vinous education saw him in good stead, and a passion was ignited to learn more about what makes wines from diverse regions taste so comparatively different. Emile married his wife, Hilani, in our St.Clement’s chapel and their first pink foot, little Anna, made her appearance earlier this year. The trio lives happily on the farm with their two brown border collies.
What has been the highlight of your career in die wine industry so far?
|A:||Being able to travel and drink exceptional wine will always be one of the best things about being in this industry. Road tripping down the East coast of Australia was one to remember. I love that you ask “so far” …|
How long have you been working at Vondeling, and what do you love most about the brand?
|A:||I have been winemaker since December 2011, so almost 7 years. There are various aspects I love about working for Vondeling. I think that being such a tightly-knit team and being able to be involved in almost everything that makes a wine farm tick is what makes us great. Being part of it and making awesome wine is what I love.|
With which cultivar do you enjoy working the most and why?
|A:||There are not many grapes I don’t like working with. I love receiving cool, green-glowing Sauvignon Blanc grapes very early in the morning during harvest. The smell as it comes arrives and the aromatics as it goes through the stages of fermentation are simply amazing.|
If you could have dinner with any winemaker, who will it be and where would you take them for dinner or what will you cook?
|A:||I often braai with my winemaker friends and I am content with that. Nothing beats a “skaap tjoppie” (lamb chop) on the fire and a local Chenin in my glass.|
What is the biggest challenge the South African wine industry is facing currently?
|A:||Making world class is relatively easy and South Africa proved that we can do this and beat many other countries on quality. The challenge is selling it to the world at the prices it deserves and being sustainable in growing global awareness.|
Which varietal, do you think, will South Africa become best known for in five years from now?
|A:||Pinotage and Chenin Blanc will always form part of our heritage and future.|
What do you enjoy most about living on Vondeling?
|A:||Zero traffic and being able to walk home for lunch and have a dip in my pool or spend some time with Anna is pretty neat. Obviously, it is jaw-droppingly beautiful and tranquil too.|