South Africa’s winemakers are as colourful as the rainbow nation they represent. Innovative, creative, funny and some of them even cheeky. But as down to earth as the soil from which they harvest the fruit for their individual masterpieces.
Over the coming months, or maybe years, Piesangs & Jellietots will let you meet the men and woman who put their passion and craftsmanship into a bottle for us to enjoy.
To kick-off this series, there is no better person than my brother Beyers Truter from Beyerskloof.
Beyers were born in the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. Matriculated in Jan van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town and studied at the University of Stellenbosch.
He started his career in winemaking at Kanonkop and from there moved to his present location, Beyerskloof.
Beyers are known around the world as the Pinotage King and his passion is undoubtedly red wine. As co-owner and winemaker of Beyerskloof he still believes that all his success is due to the grace of God.
He has won numerous local and international awards throughout his career.
Locally the one which stands out is being an unequaled 10 time winner of the ABSA Pinotage Top 10 Awards as well winning the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year award in 1987 for Pinotage.
Beyers have won a multitude of International recognition and awards, and have particularly achieved great heights at one of the World’s most respected International Competitions, the IWSC.
He received the Robert Mondavi Trophy for the international winemaker of the year in 1991 and the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Trophy for the Best Blended Red Wine were awarded to him twice. (1994 and 1999)
To get to know what makes Beyers tick, I asked him the following questions:
- Why did you become a winemaker?
I initially wanted to be a medical doctor, but I realized at the time that wine was my hobby and passion. So I decided to follow that calling.
- What is the best wine you have made?
I still have to make my best wine. I’m still trying.
- The best wine you have drunk?
1972 Simonsig Pinotage and Chambertine Closde Bezé (year unknown)
- If not winemaker, what else?
- What’s left on your bucket list?
I want to catch a big galjoen and a massive crayfish. Also to be able to keep on making wine for a long time to come. And a food and wine show about sea-food; how to prepare it the natural way. And a standup show with my brother Rian.
- What pet(s) do you have?
Dogs. The flagship Diesel Pinotage was named after my last dog Diesel; a cross between a Great Dane and a bull mastiff. I now have two blends.
- What’s your favourite TV Program?
Ultimate Survival, The Naked Chef (Jamie Oliver) and Gordon Ramsay’s cooking show.
- What song(s) do you sing in the bar/shower/car?
Psalms and Hymns.
- What motto do you live by?
Live life to the fullest.
- What do you think of Box wine?
- What wine do you drink if not your own?
Any nice and tasty wine anywhere in the world.
- What cultivar was the wine at the wedding reception in the New Testament
Pinotage, off course!
- Tent or Hotel?
- How do you relax?
Fishing, diving, golfing and spending time with my family.
In the tasting glass:
Faith Cape Blend 2008
The benchmark. A full bodied Cape Blend with an intense dark claret colour. Sweet berry and pepper flavours are superbly balanced with new French oak. This wine is big in structure, although supple, with strong tannins ensuring a long finish with a refreshing acidity. A wine to treasure, with the complexity to age for 12 – 15 years. Ideally matched with game dishes, red meat, pork and spicy foods.
www.beyerskloof.co.za | 021 865 2135
Pinotage is a wine made of woman’s tongues and lion’s hearts. If you have drunk a sufficient quantity, you can fight the devil and talk forever. – Unknown
Hoe min mense sou te veel drink as die hoofpyn in die prop was, in plaas van in die boom van die bottel. – C.J. Langenhoven
Photo in Cellar: Thinus Slabber