Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meet Lourens van der Westhuizen, Arendsig Handcrafted Wines!!

I have known Lourens, or better known by his friends as Bibop, since High School in Robertson. He has always been a very passionate person in everything he does. He was probably the slowest opening batsmen I have ever played cricket with, but a hard running centre next to me on the rugbyfield. I will never forget when he started making his own wine in 2004 and how he was running around borrowing pipes and other winemaking materials from friends. His biggest goal was to bottle his wine and impress people. Once you meet the man you will understand why he has grown from being almost a garagist into one of the finds in the Robertson Valley. He single handedly built up a wonderful following of consumers and people stand in line to order his new vintages. This is a quick introduction for you to learn a bit more about the man behind Arendsig Handcrafted Wines.

Why did you become a Winemaker? Everyone is born with a passion and certain goal on this planet. Mine is to be a winemaker.

Any favourite Grape Variety you work with or something you really want to work with? No favourite, I want to work and make wine from Single Vineyard blocks and experiment with diversity on terrior.

What time of year is most special to you…working with the grapes when they come in during harvest or tasting/blending the wines when you feel it’s ready to be bottled?
I love nature. The old saying goes: "Good wine comes from the vineyard". This is maybe why I prefer to be out there and bring in top quality grapes from various terrior.

Every Winemaker in South Africa with a bit of passion and a dream to be different want to be talked about. What would you like people to say about your wines and your winemaking talent? Single Vineyard/ Terrior legend

Arendig Handcrafted Wines is in its eight year. What are you most proud of in achieving during this time? That people are accepting and appreciating my own unique style of winemaking. My sales have also grown tremendously with a lot of loyal consumer that visit me often to collect their wines.

Any exciting new developments and plans that your loyal consumers can look forward to? There are many more exciting single vineyard wines coming. I expanded my cellar and modernized it a bit. This 2012 harvest is going to be great and i can't wait to take in my first grapes.

Looking at the vineyards and where we are now before harvest, what are your predictions for Vintage 2012?
All I can say is that in my few years of making wine, I have never seen such an exceptional build up towards harvest, but as nature taught me previously you can't say anything till all the grapes are in the cellar.

What would people NOT know about Lourens van der Westhuizen? Passion outside winemaking, hobbies etc.
 I love to be active and enjoy any kind of sport and recently started to do some Mountain biking. You will see on the video on my website that rockclimbing is another hobby. Socialize over a few beers with my friends are always special.

What do you think the SA Industry should focus on more to grow our market share on the International stage? Something that you think is very unique to our Industry?
We have the most diverse industry/ Terrior. We should be proud about all these different areas and stop looking at only very specific ones. We have got a lot more to offer.
Outside of South Africa, which Wine Region/Country do you look up to and why? French, because what we are learning now, they have forgotten. They are extremely passionate and have played this game for centuries.
You can visit to learn more about his wines.  With the Robertson Hands-on-Harvest Festival around the corner be sure to go and visit him. Taste the grapes with Lourens in the Vineyards and spend the day experiencing his passion and love for Wine and the Robertson Wine Valley. If you think Eben Sadie is a passionate winemaker then you havent met Lourens "Bibop" van der Westhuizen!