In January 2017, J.D. Pretorius will oversee his 9th harvest at Steenberg. This year however, there’s a special harvest due around the same time – just not out in the vineyards (hopefully).
With his first child due in early 2017, J.D. will be running between just-picked grapes and a just-born baby. We caught up with him while he’s still getting some sleep to ask just six questions…
What do you love about Steenberg?
Steenberg is a great combination of small and big. It’s still technically family owned, and yet it’s big enough to properly fly. That’s the best of both world.
On the winemaking side: we’re either a really big small winery or a really small big winery – I love this. It keeps us busy, with a nice mix of wines, it’s a wonderful happy medium level of engagement. I’m definitely never bored!
What’s you favourite part of the job?
Harvest – it’s focused and hectic. I love that and in a way, feel sad that for the remaining 10 months of the year, there are usually so many competing demands and distractions.
What have you learnt at Steenberg?
I’ve learnt that there’s a big difference between getting grapes into the cellar and making wine.
Your favourite Steenberg wine?
Black Swan 2015.
Your favourite non-Steenberg wine?
I love champagne and don’t get to drink it often enough. Salon’s Blanc de Blancs Champagne is my all-time favourite. It’s a small house. Their current vintage is 2003 and only around 200 bottles are produced.
What lies ahead for Steenberg Wines?
Many of our vineyards were planted in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, then left until 2010 when we commenced a big replant. All those young vineyards are now just beginning to come into production… and they’re going to make some really nice wines.