As the trade comes together for Wines of South Africa’s Intrepid tasting in London what better time than to shine the spotlight on one of the country’s leading female winemakers, Trizanne Barnard, who will be there showing her TSW range of wines sourced from the very different soils of Elim and Swartland.
Su Birch celebrates one of South Africa’s leading winemakers who is showing the way forward for future female winemakers.
The South African wine scene is still dominated by men. There are women winemakers, but women who own their own brands are as scarce as buried treasure in the vineyards. So I set out to find out more about Trizanne Barnard who has led the way with her signature wine range, Trizanne Signature Wines.
Where did you grow up?
In Vereeniging, an industrial town in the Vaal Triangle..
When did you know you wanted to be a winemaker?
I knew I wanted to do something in science, but had never thought of wine. My first experience of agri-processing was working in my gap years at a kibbutz breeding koi fish. Then another year of working in London in silver service followed where I started to taste fine wines and my interest was piqued.
Where did you study?
I did a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch, graduating in 2002. Yes, it was hard work, and also lots of fun.
Who inspired you in those years?
I did my student internship with Gary Jordan who give me an insight into the wine business. That there was far more to it than just farming and winemaking.
What was your first job as a winemaker?
At Klein Constantia, with Adam Mason.
Have you done any vintages overseas?
Yes, I used to work for French business owners and this gave me the opportunity to work abroad. I have completed vintages in Margaret River, Alsace, Bordeaux, Rhone and the Douro.
What was your first breakthrough?
The first vintage (2005) I made as the winemaker at Anwilka, part of Klein Constantia, was unofficially rated by Robert Parker as the best South African red wine he had ever tasted. Anwilka was almost completely unknown then, so it caused quite a stir.
What made you decide to go out on your own?
I’ve always known that I would need to work for myself if I wanted flexibility to work around a family, to manage my own time and to make the wine I like to drink. The four invaluable years at Anwilka and my international experience gave me the confidence to start my own brand, and in 2008 I went solo.
How did you raise the capital?
Capital was a huge problem, I literally did everything from hand to mouth, earning bits and pieces by making wine for other folk, consulting to a few producers, and then a great friend and colleague introduced me to UK importer, Off Piste Wines, who were looking to source Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa. I have worked with them, sourcing and blending wine for some of their successful brands and that has given me the cash flow to grow my own brand.
You make your wines in the very different regions of Elim and Swartland. Why is that?
What do you see in your future?
Recognition for South Africa as a premium wine producing country.
What do you do with your down time?
Spending time with my family and surfing the coast line of South Africa.
The TSW range
The TSW range is made up a Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon which are sourced from Elim, where prevailing winds provide a cool ripening season. The Syrah and Grenache are sourced from the Swartland. All grapes are carefully nurtured and selected, to ensure that only the best makes it to bottle. Barnard also produces a Barbera wine from Darling. TSW wines made to express elegance as well as fruit.
The Reserve Range
Trizanne Signature Wines has released a pair of wines under the Reserve label for the first time since the 2009 maiden vintage.
It includes a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend and a Syrah, both from Elim near Cape Agulhas. Here the focus is on expressing purity of fruit, balance and elegance. They are the result of meticulous vineyard selection that hopefully reflect the quality and style that Elim is capable of.
For more go to: http://www.trizanne.co.za