One can taste Andries Blake’s 100% commitment!

Date posted:
October 17, 2011


Andries Blake joined the Swartland Winery in 1996 and set out to create the best quality South African wines. His goal was to develop wines that honored the 350-year winemaking heritage of South Africa by combining the Old World classicism with a contemporary New World, fruit-driven style.


“The appeal of South Africa lies in the building blocks it gives you,” says Blake. “It is in the great variations in our climate, in our soils, and the exciting developments of our wine industry that offer the best of the Old and New World.”


Wine has been a part of Blake’s life since childhood. Born on his family’s wine farm, one of the oldest in the Wellington region, some of Blake’s fondest childhood memories are of visiting the vineyards with his father and tasting the grapes. Though his father grew vegetables as well, grapes caught Blake’s attention and led to his dream of becoming a winemaker.


To achieve his goal, Andries enrolled in viticulture and oenology at Elsenburg Agricultural College near Stellenbosch after matriculating at the Hugenote High School in Wellington and a two-year national service stint in the SAAF. After graduating in 1990, he joined Rooiberg Cellars in the Robertson Wine Valley where he focused on red wine making. Apart from his formal education, Blake spent time in several of the world’s top winemaking regions, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, and the United States in order to gain insight into the fast-growing industry.


As a winemaker, Blake finds that one of the true joys of wine is that there is no recipe; every year is different and no two vintages are exactly alike. Through his knowledge and expertise, he constantly strives to offer something new and unique to consumers.


For over 20 years, Blake has worked with other winemakers to create wines that exemplify the best of South Africa. Today, he heads the Swartland Winery together with his team of winemakers and viticulturist to produce vibrant South African wines. They have perfected a signature winemaking technique that brings forward a bold fruit profile with distinctive notes of mineral sweet brown spice. Through their modern winemaking style, they have helped Swartland become one of the most respected wineries in South Africa.


Andries is no stranger to awards. He was part of the winemaking team at Rooiberg when their 1995 Rooiberg Pinotage was chosen as one of the first ABSA Top 10 wines. In 1996 he ensured an ABSA Top 10 award for a Swartland Pinotage, while a Swartland Pinotage and Shiraz won double gold awards at that year’s Veritas Wine Awards.


At the 2010 Michelangelo International Wine Show, the Swartland Blanc D’Noir 2010 was awarded the Grand D’or and the Indalo Sauvignon Blanc 2010 won a gold medal. In the same year, the 2005 Indalo Cabernet Sauvignon received a gold medal at the Sélections Mondiales des Vins Canada.


Currently living in Malmesbury with his wife, Marinda, and their two sons, Christoph and Van der Bijl, Blake can be found admiring the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife of South Africa. Whether it is walking through the vineyards, playing rugby with his sons, fishing or sharing family outings in the great South African bush, he enjoys exploring the wonders of this unique and majestic land. 


“I don’t have lots of free time, but when I get the chance, I launch my boat at Yzerfontein on the Cape West Coast to catch some crayfish, snoek or yellowtail. During the winter school breaks I enjoy exploring Africa with my family.”


Asked about his winemaking philosophy, the tall man replied: “It is common knowledge that wine is made in the vineyard. The art for the winemaker is that he only gets one chance each year to recognise grapes of good quality from which to make exceptional wine.


“My motto is simple: I give 100% in everything I do!”


Taste Swartland Winery’s wines and you’ll find out that’s no empty promise!




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