Meet the Winemaker: From Vine to Wine! Simon says: "it’s all controlled chaos…"
Louisvale Wines winemaker, Simon Smith says, “My passion for winemaking is both my career and my lifestyle. I still look forward to each and every day, as my normal day in the office is made up of controlled chaos and after 23 years of being the wine maker at Louisvale, each day brings new challenges.”
Born in Paarl, Simon Smith, always had his heart set on being a farmer. He studied viticulture and live stock science as well as cellar technology at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute in Stellenbosch.
As a qualified winemaker and viticulturist, Simon personally selects the grapes he wants to use for his wine production from the grapes that have all been hand picked by a team of 10 staff working intensively for about 20 days during the harvest.
Simon worked at Bellingham, Simonsig and Weltevrede wine farms before settling at Louisvale where he can produce unique wines due to the clones and terroir common to the Devon Valley area. The soil consists of decomposed granite which makes extremely good soil, and this gives a uniqueness to the wines. The best varietals to work with therefore are Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet, and these are the wines that are at the heart of Louisvale’s production.
Louisvale has attracted many awards of late, including a Veritas Gold for the 2018 Louisvale Chardonnay in 2019. The mantelpiece in the old manor house at Louisvale is also home to the three Michaelangelo Golds awarded for the Louisvale MCC Brut, MCC Rose and the Louisvale 2018 Chardonnay.
When he’s not enjoying the odd drop of Irish Malt Whiskey, Simon’s favourite wine is the Louisvale Dominique 2017.
When asked about the worst experience Simon has ever had in wine making, he said: “That was undoubtedly when, during harvesting a few years ago, we had 30 mm of rain twice in two weeks – definitely not good news and my nerves were absolutely shattered. That said, we prevailed and still produced some excellent wines.”
When asked about the best part of his career, Simon reckons it’s that he doesn’t have to pay for his drinking wine.
Simon says, “Wine not come to Louisvale and see for yourself?”