Simonsig welcomes new winemaker

Date posted:
May 5, 2010

Born and raised in the Northern Province, winemaker Hannes Meyer has fulfilled a lifelong dream by joining Simonsig, tasked with making the estate’s famed white wines and Méthode Cap Classique.


I first discovered my deep-rooted passion for wine after moving to the Cape winelands in 2007. I always had a great interest in agriculture but the success of the local wine industry and its excellent winemakers lured me to this challenging profession and ultimately to Simonsig,” shares Hannes, who has just completed his maiden harvest on this legendary Stellenbosch estate.


Spurred on by his dream of becoming a winemaker, Hannes graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (BSc Agric), specialising in Viticulture and Oenology, from the University of Stellenbosch.


Before settling at Simonsig in 2009, Hannes honed his winemaking skills at various prominent wine estates in the Cape winelands, and during this time the pursuit of quality winemaking also landed him a harvest internship at Stonestreet Wines in California where he gained valuable knowledge in terroir variation and the crafting of diverse wine styles.


“My maiden harvest at Simonsig this year was certainly one of quality and not quantity. Smaller yields have made the 2010 harvest particularly challenging, but strong winds during the flowering season and ideal cold winter and spring months have delivered smaller crops brimming with concentrated fruit,” adds Hannes.


Although the Simonsig crop was one of the smallest in 29 years, in his ‘white wine department’ Hannes expects the sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and chenin blanc all to be stand-out wines with excellent flavour profiles, intense fruitiness and high natural acidity as a result of the optimal long, slow ripening period.


Although yields are down by 20% to 38% on last year, Hannes has high hopes for the 2010 Simonsig Cap Classiques owing to their even ripening. There was no rush as the sugars increased very gradually and he and his team could pick each block during the optimum sugar and acidity window. 


The wine he most enjoys making is chardonnay for its diverse and unpredictable nature due to the complex spectrum of flavours, allowing the winemaker to experiment and put his own signature on the wine.


“I also have a soft spot for the ‘so called Cinderella’ of the vineyard. In South Africa we are producing top quality chenin blancs, in my view better than most overseas producers, with a plethora of excellent and different styles available at our doorstep,” shares Hannes.


Future plans include a trip to Champagne to broaden his knowledge on Méthode Cap Classiques while he also dreams of owning a diving shop and fishing boats somewhere on an island in the Indian Ocean.


“But until then I have bigger fish to fry,” chuckles Hannes.



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