Q & A with winemaker Van Zyl du Toit

  1. Where did your passion for winemaking start?

 

My dad was the financial manager at Riebeeck Cellars in the Swartland so my childhood was spent in and around the cellar and vineyards. I remember “helping” when I was a small boy and loved wine farming activities even then.  After my training I worked in Bordeaux and the Cote Rotie for a few seasons, which opens your eyes to many different opportunities and teaches you the tricks of the trade from the masters, so to speak.

 

  1. Which wine was the first to make an impression on you?

 

Wine is such a subjective product and I’ve found that a number of situations can influence how you experience a wine eg the place you are in when you taste a wine, who you are with and what meal is served.  However, I do remember the first wine I scored 20/20!  I was in France working with the winemaking team at one of the top wineries, when the owner produced a bottle of the phenomenal Opus 1, the iconic wine from Napa Valley in the USA, to share with the group. That just blew my mind and I’ve never forgotten it!

 

  1. Tell us a bit more about your family?

 

I have two sons, Dian who is eight and Joshua who is six.  Both of them love visiting the cellar and enjoy helping out.  But there is no pressure!  Kids must do what is right for them.

 

  1. How do you feel about the current state of wine at Allée Bleue?

 

After all the years at the helm here, I feel that we are on track with our wines.  Sales have increased over the years and we are always trying to improve the quality and fine tune even our award-winning wines.  The recent 5* Platter’s  2019 award was a huge compliment for the whole team.

 

I have space at the farm to be a bit more creative and use unusual varietals when I assist with making wines for other wine brands as we offer that service as part of optimising our cellar space and equipment.  Many of those clients are young, adventurous and expect cutting edge wines which is hugely exciting.

 

  1. What is still on your bucket list?

 

In general I can say that I am content with what we’ve achieved since 2009 when I started here. I don’t make wines to win awards but love trial and error and to renew and refresh.  I like new concepts and to play around with smaller volumes of different varietals and styles, which may or may not end up in the larger more commercial bottlings in the end. You never stop learning and discovering in this industry!

By |2018-12-06T08:53:46+02:00December 6th, 2018|Blog|