The magic grape Beyers Truter, who is associated internationally with the Pinotage varietal, shares some insights on the local winemaking industry.
Please provide an overview of your business operations and the Beyerskloof Wine Estate.
Beyerskloof was established in 1988 and is known internationally for its Pinotage wines, the only indigenous South African variety. We have grown tremendously over the last few years and we are considered one of the foremost producers of Pinotage and Cape Blends in South Africa. Although I don’t want to grow too fast, there is a big demand for South African wines. My son is now in charge of the vineyards and winemaking and we intend to expand operations. I regard the fact that my son is actively involved in the business and will continue to build it as the biggest reward of my life thus far. Could you explain something about your relationship with Pinotage?
BIOGRAPHY Beyers Truter received a BSc Agric degree from the University of Stellenbosch before starting his winemaking career at Kanonkop. Today he is the cellar master and co-owner of Beyerskloof. He played an enormous role in the development of the Pinotage red wine grape varietal when, in 1991, he was named international Winemaker of the Year with a Pinotage wine at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. He was also the founder and chairman of the Pinotage Association. He has won numerous local and international awards. WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
I have a very long relationship with Pinotage. I would say the relationship started in 1981; I was farming at Kanonkop and I tasted a 1972 wine from Simonsig. I liked it so much that I phoned winemaker Frans Malan to ask him about it – it was a Pinotage, which at that stage was a kind of “black sheep” of wines. Well, I have always been fond of “black sheep” and the relationship has flourished ever since. In 1995, I established the Pinotage Association, which focuses on prioritising research ideas, knowledge dissemination and marketing of the varietal. It is a magic grape with a wonderful classic taste!