Interview with Tiaan van Zyl - Klawer Wine Cellars new white wine maker

Interview with Tiaan van Zyl - Klawer Wine Cellars new white wine maker
published on:

I asked one of our new white wine makers, Tiaan van Zyl, a few questions, and I came to the conclusion that his drive for winemaking is astonishing, although he’s only 22 years “young”.

Where were you born?
“I was born in Cape Town, but I’ve grown up in Vredendal.”

Where did you study?
“I studied B.Agric viticultural & Oenology at Elsenburg Agricultural college for 3 years.”

When did you realize that winemaking is your passion & your future?
“From a very young age, I’ve been in and around the cellars in this area, so I’ve always been intrigued by wine. I came across my love for winemaking in the first year of Elsenburg, and I truly love every experience of the making prosses.”

2018 will be your first harvest at a co-operative cellar. What do you think will be the most challenging part about that?
“Definitely the big volumes of wine I have to work with & also the administrative side of winemaking. I have to take note of every action!“

With a grin on his face “no more student days/nights for me!”

“I also have to work with a big team, & I have to take everybody into consideration. It’s definitely challenging, but I’m looking forward!”

Relaxing at home, what do you drink?
“Except for a good Chenin, I like an ice cold beer after a long day!”

Your still very young, but what’s your main focus & goal right now? What would you like to achieve?
“At this very moment I would just like to be magnificent in what I’m doing, & that’s making good wine for Klawer cellars. A dream is just a dream before you take action! Therefore I will work hard to add my own range to the Klawer winelist!”

What are some of the misconceptions you hear from people regarding wine?
“I know a lot of people think that a co-op cellar can’t produce good wine, and that’s not true!” On a lighter note “people think winemaking is ‘romantic’ & that also is not true. Winemaking takes a lot of effort, patience and hard work”

How would you like people to describe your wine?
“I want to trigger the consumer to have more! They should feel like their having value for money”

Favourite Red & White cultivar?
White - “given that I’ve grown up with Chenin Blanc, it’s the cultivar that I’m ‘comfortable’with. Here’s a lot of Chenin in this valley & a good wooded Chenin is always a winner!”

Talking about his favorite red cultivar, I could see the nostalgic expression on his face

Red- “Shiraz! No doubt about that. I’ve worked with Shiraz at Elsenburg cellar, & I got to taste some of the best Syrah in the world, traveling in the north Rhone of France earlier this year.”

You know this area, how would you say the drought would affect the quality of the wine & the capacities?
“I think the capacities of grapes will not be that much in 2018, but the quality of the wine for the 2018 vintage will be great!”

Tel: +27 27 216 1530     Cell: +27 27 216 1561     Email:
Birdfield Farm, N7 P.O. Box 8 , Klawer, 8145, South Africa