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  • Rudiger Gretschel on making world class South African wines

    “These are exciting times. The possibilities seem endless!” That’s how Reyneke’s Rudiger Gretschel sees the future not just for himself but for South Africa as a whole as it moves ever closer to making world class, site specific, uniques wines. Go and taste his range of organic and biodynamic wines today at the New Wave South Africa tasting on the New Generation McKinley stand.

    “These are exciting times. The possibilities seem endless!” That’s how Reyneke’s Rudiger Gretschel sees the future not just for himself but for South Africa as a whole as it moves ever closer to making world class, site specific, uniques wines. Go and taste his range of organic and biodynamic wines today at the New Wave South Africa tasting on the New Generation McKinley stand.

    mm By October 10, 2017
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    Reyneke is one of the oldest and committed wineries to biodynamic winemaking in South Africa and works hard to keep ahead of the practices needed to remain certified. You can taste their wines at today’s New Wave South Africa tasting. 

     

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    Why are you involved in the New Wave tasting – what are you hoping to achieve? 

    It is a cool format to further promote the exciting wine revolution which is happening in the Cape.

    What did you think of the last New Wave tasting in 2015 and did you think it was a game changer for you and South African wines in the UK?

    I wouldn’t go as far as to calling it a game changer on how we do business or sell wine in the UK. It was the best tasting event I have ever done in the UK in all my wine life though. The format and venue were unique and it pulled the right crowd with whom the South Africa industry should be engaging with in the UK.

    There seems to be a camaraderie amongst winemakers in South Africa, is it something you feel aware of? 

    I think this is not unique to South African winemakers. This camaraderie extends beyond all wine borders where you find young winemakers. It is this international exchange and openness which has played a major part in my personal development.

    What have been the most significant developments for you and your winery in the last year? 

    There is constant development. We try to understand our vineyards better, adapting them to the specific year to try and make the most honest wine. Experimentation in vineyard’s and cellar is on-going. Some new interesting advancements are that we bought the farm next to Reyneke with an additional 20ha of vineyards (including another 3.5ha of 39 year old Chenin), which we are now in process in converting to organic and biodynamic farming. I experimented with amphora for the first time. We managed to launch our first ‘natural” Chenin blanc!

     

    Johan Reyneke has run on the of the oldest and most successful biodynamic wineries in South Africa
    Johan Reyneke has run on the of the oldest and most successful biodynamic wineries in South Africa

    How do you see the overall South African wine industry?

    These are exciting times. The possibilities seem endless! We are starting to move away from our ‘dark’ bulk cheap past to world class more site specific wines which offer a true uniqueness.

     

    What challenges are there for you and the industry as a whole?

    Plenty! Drought, political uncertainty, rising production cost which we can’t offset in price increases (called inflation which developing countries don’t understand or want to understand), high interest rates, not enough money filtering down to workers, etc etc!

     

    What specific opportunities and challenges do you see for organic and biodynamic wines in South Africa and around the world? 

    Only opportunity. No challenges really, except the huge cost and additional work for certification. People who spray poison should be controlled not the ones who don’t!

     

    How do you see the UK market?
    Hugely important. It is a traditional wine market with South Africa having a proper presence. There is also no language barrier and lots of UK consumers have travelled to South Africa at some point. I would like to see South African wines move even more out of the cheaply supermarket ranges which is not helping the greater South African wine cause in trending up in both quality and price.

     

     Give us your elevator pitch – why should a buyer should come and taste your wines at the New Wave South Africa tasting?

    At Reyneke we have been farming biodynamically for the last 17 years now. The focus is on making ‘honest’ wine only from our own vineyards. We are trying to make wines which are uniquely Reyneke, which express the conditions we are farming in as well as our philosophy. We also have lots of fun!

     

    Favourite restaurant in the UK? 

    Still one of the best dining experiences on the planet - if you can afford it...
    Still one of the best dining experiences on the planet – if you can afford it…

    I had one of my best meals ever in the UK – the Fat Duck. Those were the days!

    Favourite city in the world? 

    Istanbul at the moment. 

    Best thing to do as a tourist in London/

    I love the museums.

    Best place to go to meet another South African?

    Don’t they all live around Wembley!

     

     

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