PODCAST | The Check-In: That time these top Constantia Valley winemakers were just cheap SA labor in France

2019-12-20 08:30
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Celebrated South African Winemaker Matt Day from Klein Constantia and Justin van Wyk from Constantia Glen - share on the dirtier side of making wine - but with some hard-won lessons in between. But nobody knows the valley quite like they do - listen to the podcast above to find out how to make the most of their respective wine farms during your next visit.

About the winemakers

Justin van Wyk grew up on a Merino sheep farm in the Karoo in the Prince Albert district but has found himself in the prime position of head winemakers since 2011. 

He first encountered the winelands during his high school years in Cape Town, with many of his friends in the boarding house living in  ir around Stellenbosch, Constantia and Elgin.

In 2004 I enrolled in a degree of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University and graduated in December 2007.

"My first job straight out of university in January 2008 was the position of assistant winemaker at Constantia Glen. I was fortunate to travel in these early years, and in August - November 2008 I did a harvest at Chateaux Bellefont-Belcier and Trianon in St Emilion with Dominique Hebrard.

"This was an eye-opening experience where I learnt a great deal about Bordeaux-style winemaking and it was truly memorable. During my time in Bordeaux I was able to pay technical visits to incredible properties such as Chateau Angelus, Haut-Brion, Lynch-Bages and Cheval-Blanc.

"In 2010 I was once again a lucky adventurer and did a harvest in Napa Valley with sister wineries, Cade and Plumpjack. This was another memorable and very educational harvest experience to see how it is done in the New World. .

But his real passion is to work with vineyards forever fine-tuning the vineyard practices, and to reap the rewards of effort and attention to detail.

He says "wine is made in the vineyard - and the cellar is there to harness and maintain quality and integrity".  

Matt Day grew up in Johannesburg, but a keen interest in winemaking saw him relocate to the Cape to pursue an education in this field.

After graduating from Stellenbosch University with a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) in Viticulture and Oenology, Matt worked at various local and international estates gaining vital experience.

From a harvest at Meerlust and Chateau Belefont Belcier in St Emilion, to assisting in the cellar at Elderton Estate in the Barossa Valley, and working as a winemaking intern at St Emilion’s Chateux Trianon and Dancing Hares Estate in the Napa Valley, Matt was more than prepared to take on the role of Assistant Winemaker at Klein Constantia in 2008 under Adam Mason’s guidance.

Today he is the winemaker of Klein Constantia

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