What powers Louisvale Wines’ winemaker? Today we lift the veil of mystery on how our gorgeous vines become our acclaimed wines, and it all starts with the love and passion of our winemaker, Simon Smith. A man who’s been in love with the soil and the harvest since a young boy, he brings passion, individuality and star quality to the Louisvale vintages.
A quarter-century of wine
For Simon, wine isn’t just a drink. It’s a lifestyle and a career, one he’s still in love with almost a quarter-century after it kicked off here at Louisvale.
Simon’s love of the land, you see, was nothing new. In fact, he’d originally intended to go into farming. With qualifications in viticulture, livestock science and cellar technology under his belt, however, it’s the rolling vines of South Africa’s top wine farms that would draw him in. Before finding his home at Louisvale, he worked with other top SA wine names, including Simonsig, Weltevrede and Bellingham. It’s the Devon Valley, however, and the unique biome here that allows such spectacular wine production, that calls to his heart. Decomposed granite is a unique soil type found in few other spots throughout South Africa’s dry expanses, and it makes for a fertile soil with an unusual profile that adds an unmistakable character to the Louisvale collection. It’s a charm and individuality you can taste in every drop- after Simon has worked his magic, of course!
That life-long love and dedication has paid off for Louisvale’s many acclaimed wines. Louisvale’s international profile has skyrocketed in recent years. Alongside our three Michelangelo Gold awards (for the Louisvale MCC Brut, MCC Rose, and the Louisvale 2018 Chardonnay) , there’s the Veritas Gold for the 2018 Chardonnay. Yet Simon brings that same dedication and passion to every bottle. Ironically, alongside the Louisvale Dominique 2017, Simon’s other favourite tipple is a good Irish Malt Whiskey.
Trials and tribulations make fine wines
The life of a winemaker has its perks. Not only does Simon never have to “pay for his wines”, he’s also able to hand choose the grapes to use in his wines, each of which is handpicked by a specialist team. Yet winemaking in Africa is not without its tribulations, either. While we typically welcome rain in this dry country, rain in the middle of a wine harvest can spell disaster! Luckily, the only significant time it’s happened at Louisvale, Simon and his team were still able to save the day- and the vintage.
Curious to know more about this fascinating maven of all-things-wine. Why not come to Louisvale, and meet him for yourself!