Welcome to BLANKbottle
Describe BLANKbottle in one sentence: Clothes maketh not the man; judge my wines on what's in the bottle, not the varietal on the label.
When and how did BLANKbottle start? In 2004, a lady came to my house (then also my office) to buy wine. She asked for anything but Shiraz. "I don't drink Shiraz", were her exact words. I poured her a glass of wine. She loved it and bought 3 cases. It was a straight Shiraz. It's a fact - we do judge the book by its cover.
When I started BLANKbottle, my goal was to create an honest wine brand that had no limitations when it came to style, vintage, area or cultivars in order to break down any preconceived expectations. Having no indication of cultivar on the bottle makes this possible. Not only does it demand complete honesty when it comes to quality, but it allows me the opportunity to introduce once-off limited runs of interesting wines. Its flexibility turned out to be BLANKbottle's edge. Something for someone with an open mind and an adventurous heart.
So, does that mean you never repeat a wine from year to year? No, I do repeat wines. In the beginning years I made different wines every year. But as time went on, I grew attached to some vineyards and committed to making them year on year, for example Moment of Silence. At the moment, roughly 50% of my productions are once-off wines. If they perform well, they will stay on. So you have your own winery but no farm? Yes, owning a farm limits you to the vineyards on your specific farm. I love traveling and experiencing many different areas. I want to make area specific wines, wines that will be ambassadors for areas. If I can one day have 50 wines in my portfolio I would be happy. How many vineyards do you buy grapes from at the moment? In the 2016 harvest I picked 73 tons from 58 vineyards; picked in 68 seperate lots; 27 different varietals and growing - anything from Fernao Pirez to Cabernet. In harvest I normally drive 13 000 killometers in 100 days to pick my grapes. Where is your winery based? It’s on a farm outside Somerset West. There are no signs or formal winetasting facilities, so phone me if you want to come and visit.
What do you love most about your job? Being able to tell stories through wine. Next big wine trend? Going back to the basics and producing terroir driven wines. Not areas according to government, but according to soil climate and topography. What’s the first thing you do when you get home? Get attacked by the kids (after driving past the beach to see if there’s surf) then pouring my wife a glass of wine.
So you design all your own labels? Yes, it started off 13 years ago due to a lack of funds to pay designers. It then turned into a part time hobby and nowadays it so forms part of what I do. I love it!
Perfect weekend? No set plans. Having time to be creative and early morning coffee with my wife and kids. Winemaking philosophy? Hide your similarities and celebrate your differences. Best influence thus far in your business? No family money! Having to do everything myself lets the creative juices flow. Passions? Stories, weird cultivars, weird wines, weird people, weird wine producing areas, traveling, surfing, figuring out my wife, and embracing who my kids are. I am constantly amazed by: people who have the ability to be true to themselves and thereby differentiate themselves from the norm.