“It’s our privilege to be the costume designer and screenwriter, to present this time capsule, a catalyst that brings people together, there to de-stress, entertain, – as the star headline act, in the privacy of your home.”
DESCRIBE BLANKBOTTLE IN ONE SENTENCE. Clothes maketh not the man; judge our wines on what’s in the bottle, not by means of preconceived ideas.
WHEN AND HOW DID THE BLANKBOTTLE WINERY START? In 2004, a lady came to my house (then also my office) to buy wine. She asked for anything but Shiraz. “I don’t drink Shiraz”, were her exact words. I poured her a glass of wine. She loved it and bought 3 cases. It was a straight Shiraz.
Having no indication of cultivar on the bottle, not only demands complete honesty when it comes to quality, but it allows me the opportunity to introduce once-off limited runs of interesting wines. An honest brand that had no limitations when it came to style, vintage, area or cultivars. Something for someone with an open mind and an adventurous heart.
SO, DOES THAT MEAN YOU NEVER REPEAT A WINE FROM YEAR TO YEAR? No, we do repeat wines. In the beginning years I made different wines every year. But as time went on, I grew attached to some vineyards and committed to making them year on year, for example Moment of Silence. At the moment, roughly 30% of our wines are once-off wines. If they perform well, they will stay on.
SO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN WINERY BUT NO FARM? Yes, at the moment I can’t afford one but then again owning a farm limits you to the vineyards on your specific farm. I love traveling and experiencing many different areas. I want to convey as many different stories as possible from as many areas as possible – if I can one day have 50 wines in our portfolio I would be happy.
HOW MANY VINEYARDS DO YOU BUY GRAPES FROM? In the 2020 harvest we picked 165 tons from about 80 vineyards; 35 different varietals – anything from Fernao Pirez to Cabernet. This year we bottled well over 40 different wines.
ON A PRACTICAL LEVEL, HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE INVOLVED IN SO MANY VINEYARDS? I work with great farmers and knowledgeable viticulturists. We make wines from almost all the areas in the Western Cape. They all ripen at different times. In the beginning of harvest I only focus on the first, maybe 10, in Wellington and Darling. As we pick through the first 10, I start looking at the next in line to possibly ripen. We carry on like that and 13000 km and 100 days later we normally pick the last vineyard in the Witzenberg.
WHERE IS YOUR WINERY BASED? It’s on a farm outside Somerset West. There are no signs or formal wine tasting facilities.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Being able to tell stories through wine.
SO YOU DESIGN YOUR OWN LABELS? Yes, it started off 15 years ago on Microsoft word – due to a lack of funds to pay designers. In 2008 there was a dramatic change, but that is a long story. See Epileptic Inspiration under wines now selling. It then turned into a part time hobby and nowadays it forms part of what I do. I love it!