Our winemakers

Pieter Ferreira and Pierre de Klerk make up our team.

PIETER FERREIRA
CELLARMASTER

This remarkably gifted and passionate vintner has undoubtedly had a life-long love affair with all things bubbly.

Affectionately known as “Mr Bubbles”, Pieter Ferreira eats, drinks and breathes bubbles! Pieter has been with the team from the very first vintage and has been instrumental in cementing Graham Beck as one of the world’s leading producers of premium Méthode Cap Classique style sparkling wines.

Pieter’s love affair with MCC style sparkling wines started early on in his winemaking career. The bubbly bug bit hard and wouldn’t let go as his innate admiration for the universal charm of this challenging style of wine took hold. He credits his microbiology and plant science background with helping him to understand and appreciate the finer nuances of crafting Cap Classique. Numerous vintages in Champagne, France, and other top wine producing regions across the globe have provided plenty of opportunities for Pieter to hone his natural affinity for this specialized and exacting craft.

His extraordinary dedication to crafting wines of authenticity, consistency and supreme elegance has seen him and his team reap countless high profile awards both here and abroad. As chairman of the Cap Classique Producers Association (CCPA) Pieter continues to innovate and inspire in his tireless quest for ‘the perfect bubble’.

Over the years he’s been asked countless times “what defines a truly outstanding Cap Classique?” The answer is as simple as this: it’s when you ask for that second bottle! “A truly ‘world class’ Cap Classique is the result of favourable vintage conditions and reflects stricter fruit selection and the utmost care in the cellar in the pursuit of even greater excellence. That’s the academic response, but most importantly to us producers it’s the reaction from the consumer,” explains Pieter.

“Graham Beck Wines and the many other top local Cap Classique producers are proving that South Africa has got what it takes in the bubbly stakes. We’ve developed a uniquely home grown, ‘New World’ style, while remaining true to the essence, technique and tradition of fine fizz,” says Mr Bubbles.

"I really try and capture the intrinsic fruit characteristics of the base wine varieties. It’s always my aim to contribute elegance and finesse. The bubblies are never ‘in your face’,” he explains. “At the end of the day you should be drinking the authentic style of the wine, not aiming for showmanship. With bubbly it’s even more vital to create that finesse and delicacy. The smaller you can create that bubble, the better the chances that the wine will develop the necessary delicate and complex flavours.”

“It was Dom Pierre Perignon, the French Benedictine Monk who uttered ‘Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars!’ upon sampling his new invention – Champagne. Just as this marked the start of the modern history of MéthodeChampenoise sparkling wine, so too has our Graham Beck journey been ‘written in the stars’. Our very first vintage was quite literally crafted beneath the stars because at that stage the cellar roof had not yet been erected!” recalls Pieter.

 

PIERRE DE KLERK
WINEMAKER

“Bubbly is a calling, not merely a vocation,” is the mantra of this talented and ardent vintner.

“I absolutely love every single step involved in crafting world class Cap Classique – it’s a process that demands your utmost in terms of passion, dedication and creativity. There is no room for error but endless scope for refinement and innovation,” explains Pierre.

He joined the Graham Beck winemaking team in 2010 and his infectious enthusiasm and energy immediately contributed a fresh and eager dimension to the mix. A love of wine from an early age as well as family roots in the industry saw Pierre obtain a BSc Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology) from Stellenbosch University, after which he gained invaluable experience at overseas and Cape cellars.

Pierre revels in the opportunity to apply his philosophy of minimal intervention, allowing the unique characteristics of the vineyard to guide the process once the fruit is in the cellar. “It’s about embracing what Mother Nature, the vintage and the grapes have to offer,” he explains.

Pierre has certainly embraced his winemaking career, a far cry from his career guidance counsellor’s recommendation – accounting! “From the moment I open the cellar door to the moment I close it, I love every moment, every challenge and all the rewards of seeing the final product developing. I don’t think I’ve ever woken up and said ‘I don’t want to go to work’.” From harvesting, to blending and tasting of the final product, he approaches each aspect of the winemaking process with vigorous precision and immense enthusiasm.

Whether in the cellar or outdoors, Pierre strives to uphold the Graham Beck philosophy of ‘nothing less’ than the best in the tireless journey towards the perfect bubble.

 


Graham Beck
+27.236261214