As a person who likes detail and a bit of nerdy and geekiness, I like to drill down into the smallest quirkeries and metrics that we face in winemaking.
My philosophy is not so much a rubric. It’s more that I try to make wines that reflect the sense of place, making them in a way that is non-interventionist; it’s to try and reflect those qualities in the glass.
The emphasis has to be on the vineyard first, but I also believe that the maturation cycle plays a second important role whilst the winemaking is arguably only third.
My belief stems from the fact that the time the vine and bunches have grown is over a six-month period whilst the wine will mature for an equally if not longer time. The winemaking whilst covering the first 30 days of the wine's life and is important to steer correctly, there are many facets that need attention during the maturation cycle that make the wine veer off track.
When we pick the grapes in the harvesting period, we pick according to the clone and the soil type, and we match the soils and the clones to each of the barrels. We get quite geeky and intellectual; we have an algorithm that matches them all up which we’ve developed over many years. Even though we take 11 parcels of grapes, we actually end up with 21 batches of wine. By tasting every 6 weeks, you see the maturation going forwards over a period of 10 or 12 or 18 months for the red wines and what's important is that we can make decisions based on that. We could stir it, or we could turn the barrel or we could do nothing at all.
Born and raised in the UK, I was a chef before I found wine. I love cooking, I love food and I love working with my hands which is why I became a chef. I worked for two years as one before I enthusiastically got sucked into the wine scene. To get out and immerse myself in the wide world of wine, I worked in California, Chile, Bordeaux, Hungary and Germany before settling in South Africa in 1999.
I passed my Master of Wine exam on Sept 5th, 2011. I am one of a handful of Masters of Wine who actively make wine and the only one who makes wine in South Africa.
I started Kershaw Wines as an entity in 2012. We started with Chardonnay and Syrah and in 2015 Pinot Noir joined the fray.
In November 2021, I joined the Cape Winemakers Guild. An invitational membership of passionate winemakers who have played a pioneering role in the South African wine industry and who have excelled in their field.
When I'm not in the cellar, I judge wine in competitions around the globe. I am part of the educational panel for the Institute of Masters of Wine, and lecture for the WSET in South Africa.
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