Bernard Claassen

Welmoed Winemaker
Welmoed Winery
A self-proclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz lover who heads for the waves every chance he gets Welmoed winemaker Bernard Claassen has his hands full in the cellar creating the great value-for-money, easy-drinking wines that form the Welmoed portfolio. He studied Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch and completed his first harvest at Welmoed while still a student.

A self-proclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz lover who heads for the waves every chance he gets Welmoed winemaker Bernard Claassen has his hands full in the cellar creating the great value-for-money, easy-drinking wines that form the Welmoed portfolio. He studied Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch and completed his first harvest at Welmoed while still a student. He joined the company of wine people in 2004.

What does your job entail?
I oversee the whole process from grape intake to bottle ready wine. This will include blending and procuring of wines, liaising with clients and also attending wine shows.

How would you describe your winemaking style?
I truly think that I have two styles at the moment. The first is very market driven. I quite enjoy making uncomplicated, easy-drinking wine that people can enjoy every day. And secondly there is the more intense, serious and robust style with a more personal touch which I do on a smaller scale in the cellar.

What are your winemaking goals?
One would always want to be recognised for the good quality of one's wine, the best way for this is probably to win a few accolades along the way. But honestly, I just like to make great wines that always over-deliver and can be enjoyed by everyone.

What's the first thing you do once the harvest is complete?
I take a long weekend away at the coast with the special person in my life, just relaxing and catching up on all the surfing I missed out on during harvest.

What's your favourite drink?
A good crisp Sauvignon blanc or Riesling, but also a big robust Shiraz.

What do you drink when you are not drinking your own wines?
Ice cold beer, I must say the best beer I ever drank was in Bali, called Bintang Lager.

What is your best food and wine memory?
There is just too many, but the last one was... Seafood on the beach done over an open fire with a few good friends and also a few glasses of good Sauvignon blanc just before sunset.

What do you want to be served at your last supper?
A nice piece of beef fillet grilled to perfection, served with a good Shiraz.

If money was not an object, I would...
I would travel around the world to find the best wine, but also to find and surf the best wave.

What is your dream car?
Mercedes Gelandewagen.

If you weren't a winemaker, what would you be doing?
Most probably be practising the other passion in my life: cooking. I'd love to combine this passion with great wines in my own restaurant!