South Africa holds a special place in our hearts here at WA. Three years ago things looked a little different here, and South Africa is a pretty big reason why we have changed for the better. At the time, the fate of thebacklabel magazine was undecided, but after the decision to make South Africa our first themed box, the magazine was forever changed, and so were we.
Three years later, our love for South Africa has amplified to the point that we decided to go there ourselves to source our own line of wines. South African wine
importer, Sam Timberg, steered us to three winemakers to participate in the creation of our Lekker wines – a family consisting of red, white and rosé – all of which are produced by a different winemaker.
When we launched that first South African box, Nico Grobler was one of the featured winemakers, and today he is part of our Lekker project as the producer of Lekker Rosé, but winemaking was not his original career path.
Nico was raised on his family farm of six generations, but because his father had no interest in continuing the family tradition, they sold the farm and moved. But Nico had farming in his blood. He attended law school, but couldn’t fight his passion to plant and grow life, so he
went back to school follow his dream and study viticulture and enology.
Currently on his twelfth year of winemaking, Nico, like us, loves wine because of the stories and “being able to discover the areas and history” behind wine. Nico isn’t the only one who feels a connection to the earth through wine. Winemaker Adam Mason, the creator of Lekker Red, has always been fascinated with plants and what one can do with them.
“When I was a teenager, I started experimenting with making my own wine, and wanted to learn more about winemaking,” Adam said.
And learn more he did. Adam attended Stellenbosch University for viticulture and enology and went on to work in France as a contract winemaker for four years.
Twenty years later, Adam still loves wine for being ever changing.
“It always makes me think about the bigger questions in life. I think wine is intellectual more than other alcohol. It’s a time capsule because it can last hundreds of years. It’s so much more than just an alcoholic beverage,” Adam said.
Winemaker Reenen Borman – the creator of Lekker White – also took an interest in wine at a young age, a very young age.
“My first memory of wine was growing up on a wine farm and I remember going into the tasting room and drinking all the leftover glasses at 5 or 6 years old,” Reenen said.
That interest in wine never faded and after high school, Reenen went on to study viticulture and enology and also spent time studying in the Rhone Valley. Now on his seventh year of winemaking, he has joined his father, a winemaker of 20 years, and the family project of Boschkloof Estate just outside of Stellenbosch.
When deciding what varietals to use for Lekker White, he knew he wanted something fresh and crisp that also has a unique South African ambiance, which led him to an unoaked Chenin Blanc.
“It’s one of the old forgotten grapes local to South Africa. It’s a grape that didn’t really have premium status back in the day, it’s like a phoenix rising from the
ashes in its comeback,” Reenen said.
Reenen also chose Chenin because it complements food well but is also easy to enjoy on its own, and is a great example of a grape that shows its region very well.
Although the country of South Africa has been making wine for hundreds of years, it’s still full of discovery, which is why we love it so much and why it is our goal to be the loudspeaker for South Africa and to discover amazing wines with meaningful stories for our readers to fall in love with.