Farm Manager and viticulturist of Twee Jonge Gezellen Estate, Juan van der Riet was recently awarded first place in the Winetech Vineyard Practice Evaluation conducted by VinPro.
The competition is judged in three categories. The judging form makes provision for long term techniques, short term techniques and general appearance.
Juan van der Riet says his foray into viticulture began in the bush… “I was enjoying a glass of wine in Kruger Park with a guest that I was guiding as a ranger, and the thought hit me, I wanted to study wine and its origin.”
Fast forward three years and an Elsenberg degree in viticulture and oenology later, Juan found his place among the vines of Twee Jonge Gezellen in beautiful, Tulbagh.
We caught up with him for a chat.
What does winning the award mean to you? That it isn’t just the land that makes a wine good, but also the people who work on it; my team is so important to me.
What sets Twee Jonge Gezellen’s vineyards apart? Our vineyards are situated on the foot of Saronsberg Mountain in Tulbagh and have a distinctive rocky soil and a unique terroir. Added to this the abundancy of free wildlife corridors as well as the natural boundaries, which work to create a vineyard in harmony with nature.
What are its strengths? Our vines are naturally high in tartaric acid and they have a good pH balance, which makes them perfect for making base wine for MCC.
Tell us about your team? I’m proud to say it’s an all-women team. Team leader, Elizabeth Philander is passionate about her team and the vineyard. We have been working together for more than four years—it’s sometimes more laughter than work, the jokes fly!
Can you share a memorable anecdote in the vineyard? When I taught my two sons and their grandpa how to prune.
Your favourite Krone MCC—and when do you like to enjoy it? I love a cold glass of Krone Borealis: to be enjoyed while going fishing with my two boys; or around an open air fire with family and friends