Our time with wine
Our wine affair starts with the story of us, as early as our grade eight years when we met. I always knew that I’d marry Hugo, he realized this later during our first year in Stellenbosch where we studied to become winemakers, ironically, this is also the place where we were romanced by the fruit of the vine.
To say that we knew what we were getting involved with at the time will be a bit of a long shot, but everything and with that I mean EVERYTHING about wine gives us pleasure, of course, some more than others.
During our studies at the University of Stellenbosch Hugo worked at Niel Ellis Wines and I at Altydgedacht during which we learned valuable lessons about small-batch-winemaking and the meticulous sorting of grapes, working with different types of oak barrels whilst constantly tasting wines till maturation was perfected.
After our studies, Hugo started at Swartland Winery in Malmesbury as the assistant winemaker, soon after he was promoted to red winemaker of 15 000 tons and thereafter as ultra-premium winemaker making boutique wine in the newly built, bespoke cellar. This is where our paths went its different ways. I completed a harvest at Perdeberg Winery (Paarl), just around the corner from Hugo which meant we could see each other during the weekends and compare all the new and exciting things we learned about life and wine. After that harvest, I was appointed by Vinfruco (an export company known for their Arniston Bay brand that was sold in the UK) to oversee their high-end wines and barrel maturation facility that stored over 1000 barrels at completion.
During the European summer of 2002, Hugo went to Pomerols, France to gain harvest experience. We corresponded via fax which, at the time, was high tech and it was also then that Hugo mentioned that we should get married. A man true to his word we were engaged after he returned from his travels abroad and we got married just after the last Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were harvested in 2003.
Soon hereafter Hugo joined Wamakersvallei Winery and my journey lead to food safety and ethical compliance consultation for wineries and farms. This gave us more free time to invest in our new-born twins as well as enjoying the high paced life we call harvest time.
In 2010, in our spare time we bottled our first wine, Agaat was born, a Cape blend and ode to our family and friends that came before us and shared our dreams. It was only in 2013 that we made the big leap when Hugo decided to work full time on this part-time affair. I joined Hugo in 2017 after 8 years in wine quality assurance and compliance at Accolade Wines. Since then we have worked harder than we ever expected and learned even more, but we would do it all again if given the choice.
Now years later the picturesque town of Wellington, South Africa is still our home and our family has grown to include two dogs and a cat and we are still getting great joy from this wine-life that we would like to share with you.