Marco Ventrella

KWV Head Viticulturist
KWV Classic Collection
Like a really good wine, Marco Ventrella, chief viticulturist at KWV, matured into winemaking.

In spite of a long fascination with and love for wine, Marco Ventrella only began to study Wine and Viticulture at the age of 29, after fifteen years of running hotels and nightclubs and giving up on a BCom degree "out of sheer boredom".

The wait paid off. Marco finished as the Dux student of his graduation year, and to top it off received the national John Deere agricultural award for best student. He started his career as a technical assistant at Graham Beck. Only a year later he became the group viticulturist, overseeing all four Graham Beck farms and all the buying of grapes and wine a position he held for six years.

Marco joined KWV in November 2010 as chief viticulturist and in mid-2011 took oversight of the buying in of wine for KWV. As part of a young, dynamic and hungry winemaking team, we have a culture of "what ca we do differently?' which means there is constant growth and improvement. Marco likens the challenges and mysteries of wine making in the vineyards to "playing seven games of chess at the same time". The relationship and interaction between geology, soil, climate, topography, cultivar, root stock and practices constantly changes and shifts.

"Every move on every board affects every other board, but you can't predict with certainty how," he says. "There is so much in viticulture we don't fully understand and which is not clear. Every vintage I go into a toolbox of stuff I know about vines and every year one of more of those things turns out to be the surprise factor and confirming that "everything is not rue every time". Along with his abiding joy in wine and winemaking, Marco enjoys food and cooking, is a great lover of literature and comedy, music and performing arts and remains entranced by geology and vine physiology.

His goals, particularly in regard to winemaking, is to better understand tannin and flavour compound syntheses, development and expression, as well as what affects them directly. He hopes to contribute to the renaissance of KWV as a wine producer of excellence across all price point, but also to contribute to the stabilisation of grower relationships and economics for sustainability. 'I love the time spent," say Marco, "in the vineyards of the beautiful Western Cape, playing the game and always aim to get that full-circle-evolution right in the glass!"