So Gus, why are you so zealous about the Constantia Valley? For so many reasons! Being the oldest consistently producing wine region in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve been making wine here for 332 years (since 1685). That gives this area a certain cache. In fact, Constantia has produced wines for longer than the Haute Medoc in Bordeaux where the famous chateaus like Lafite and Margaux are to be found. It’s also the only present wine area in the country (and one of few in the world) with its own embossed bottle, ‘Constantia 1685’. Apart from prestigious heritage, it’s one of the coolest wine regions in South Africa, with the resultant benefit of late ripening red and white grapes. This helps to produce tannin ripe fruit despite living in a time of global warming.
Closer to home, what’s the Constantia Glen philosophy? To simply produce the very best red and white wines from this unique area – producing world-class wines with minimal interference using the best of traditions and the latest in technologies.
What makes Constantia Glen’s terroir special? Constantia faces due east, yet this pocket of land also has north-facing slopes facing Constantia Nek. This gap in the mountain allows for an extra couple of hours of sunlight during ripening time. These unique factors (plus protection from the South Easter winds for certain varieties) give us an enormous point of difference.
What are some of the challenges for South African wine producers? Not only for South Africa, but across the world, we have the immense challenge of global warming. This is speeding up the ripening process and therefore not allowing for the timeous ripening of the tannin structures of the grapes. The cooler areas also have this challenge but to a much lesser degree and therefore have a definite advantage here.
Your favourite white and red wines? My favourite wines are no doubt both red and white South African style Bordeaux blends… the individual varieties come together to make a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Your favourite pastime? Being in the vineyard with my pair of secateurs.
The best glass of wine you’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking? We’ve just released our Constantia Glen FIVE 2012. I personally believe this to be the best wine we’ve produced in our short history so far.
When in your life have you been happiest? I am as happy now in life as I was growing up in Stellenbosch, driving trucks to the winery from the age of 16.
What can you simply not do without in life? The thrill of discovering how the new releases in our young brand will turn out.