Guy Webber

Winemaker
Hill&Dale
Considered one of South Africa's <a href="http://www.hillanddale.co.za /pinotage">Pinotage</a> masters with a personal tally of <strong>seven ABSA Top 10 wines</strong>, five of which have been awarded during his time at Stellenzicht, Guy Webber is passionate about this home grown varietal and considers it his absolute favourite. <br /> <br /> Born in De Aar in 1965, Guy Webber attended Grey College when his parents relocated to Bloemfontein.

Considered one of South Africa's Pinotage masters with a personal tally of seven ABSA Top 10 wines, five of which have been awarded during his time at Stellenzicht, Guy Webber is passionate about this home grown varietal and considers it his absolute favourite.

Born in De Aar in 1965, Guy Webber attended Grey College when his parents relocated to Bloemfontein. It was here that Guy's interest in agriculture was piqued. When his parents relocated again, this time to Pretoria, he enrolled at Pretoria Boys High School from which he matriculated in 1983. Guy was accepted to study at the Elsenburg College of Agriculture and in 1988 received his Diploma, in the first class, in Viticulture and Horticulture and a Diploma in Cellar Technology. He started his working career as a Trainee Technical Assistant with Gilbeys in Stellenbosch and then spent a further six years honing his winemaking skills at Clos Malverne and Devon Hill Winery before joining Stellenzicht in 1998. During this time he received his certificate in Wine Judging from the Cape Wine and Spirit Education Trust and became a member of various wine tasting clubs and committees.

Balancing of Craft

His philosophical and practical approach to winemaking ensures that all wines are created with balance as their essence. For Guy, the process starts in the vineyards across the Stellenbosch Winelands - the balancing of moisture, sunlight and wind are crucial to the cultivation of high quality fruit with which to create these wines.

"When the vine gets too much water, the berries swell too much and the resulting wine can literally be watery. If the vine suffers from draught, it gets too stressed and does not ripen its grapes properly. The result is a wine which can best be described as green or stalky. The aim is balance, to give the vine enough water to ripen its berries without diluting them."

Harnessing nature's best qualities through correct decision-making in the vineyards makes this balancing act more easily attainable. This, however, is not where it ends. Balance continues to play a role in the processes of fermentation and maturation of the wine.

"Take the fermentation temperature, for example," Guy explains. "High temperatures result in very good colour and tannin extraction in red wines, but also in the loss of much of the grape's inherent fruit flavours. Cold fermentation temperatures, on the other hand, result in very fruity reds but with less colour and structure. Well-known French winemaker, Robert Drouhin, on the subject of balance, made the point that to live with your feet in an oven and your head in a freezer could mean that your average body temperature is correct, but that this would not be a comfortable way to exist. The most important thing about balance is to avoid extremes."

Follow Guy's blog for more information on what he's up to, the Stellenzicht Estate and the Hill&Dale wine range.