It’s good to be a dreamer. To channel your energy into something to keep you going when work gets a little dull, or life a little tough. It’s especially awesome when winemakers do this, because the result is often an esoteric wine that brings alive the honest craft of winemaking. For the winemaker, it’s no doubt freeing to have no institutional rules set on the style of wine you want to make, and to be able to concoct something totally off-the-beaten dust road. For a wine drinker, the fun part about trying a winemaker’s side(ways) – get it? – project is that you might discover something completely different to what you’re used to, especially when it comes to unusual varieties and styles.
Our favourite new side project comes from Thistle & Weed, a collaboration between two winemaking friends – Stephanie Wiid and Etienne Terblanche. With more than 25 harvests between them and award-winning (literally) palates to boot, their shared insatiable love for the vine has led them to create a maiden vintage Chenin blanc, dubbed Duwweltjie. With a label so beautiful that we want to wallpaper our bedrooms with it, Duwweltjie brings with it an invited sense of nostalgia, throwing us back to summer suburban South Africa with ‘devil thorns’ sticking to the base of our cotton tennis socks. That nostalgia also comes across on the palate, as the grapes used were handpicked from 65-year-old Chenin vines. To us, Duwweltjie quite comfortably fits in the league of other winemakers’ passion projects and is worth a savoured sip. Available online here. For a list of our top 5 local side projects, see below.
Glou Glou’s top 5 side projects include:
1) Craig Hawkins – Testalonga Wine
Craig used to be the winemaker at Lammershoek before starting his skin-contact awesomeness
2) Reenen Borman – Patatsfontein Wine
A winemaking venture formed by Reenen Borman of Boschkloof and partners
3) Adam Mason – Marvelous Wines
Adam makes the magic happen at Mulderbosch but practically has side projects popping out of his ears – of which Marvelous is a firm favourite
4) Donovan Rall – Rall Wines
Winemaker at Vuurberg Wines., his first ‘side’ project got a 5 stat platter
5) Miles Mossop – Miles Mossop Wine
Resident winemaker at Tokara, Miles has an entire range of wines and online store as his after hours bae