Catching up with Johnnie and talking Cap Classique

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Q: Let’s get this started. Take us through the very beginning of where it all started and where your purpose was ignited?

Born and raised in the Little Karoo, I have a rich background in the production of wine, coming from a family-owned fruit and wine farm in Calitzdorp.

As a family we were involved in every aspect of the farm with a hands-on approach being the essence of how we got things done. This remains an element of my success and resulted in sound experience in the sourcing of good wine grapes. Naturally, this meant holidays were for pruning or picking fruit whilst attending Oakdale Agricultural High. My interest in winemaking stemmed from a young age, with my older sister and cousin also being successful winemakers. My hometown is famous for sweet and fortified wines. This led my father to attempt his own vintage with great enthusiasm. His label may not ever have been quite so successful, but he had certainly left me inspired.

I went on to complete my BSc degree at the University of Stellenbosch in Viti- & Viniculture in 2004, adding a Postgraduate diploma in Financial Planning and another from the Cape Wine Academy. Fast forward to 2022 where I am now completing my 22nd harvest within the local and international wine industry.

Q: What makes the Blanc de Blancs Brut standout?

The most important part of bubbly production is the picking date, the origin of the fruit and the handling to feature the purity and longevity of Chardonnay as a base wine. A high natural acidity is fundamental in making a complete and decent Cap Classique.

Q: What grapes do you use and what is special about these vineyards? / What is the most important thing to keep in mind when making the Blanc de Blancs Brut?

This year will be the second vintage release for Glen Carlou. We keep the allocated Chardonnay blocks and batches separate to understand and capture the potential of each, ultimately creating that ‘something special’.

Q: What is your fermentation regime (Temperature, yeast nutrition etc.)?

I am a firm believer in less is more, sticking to the basics.

Q: What is the secret with regards to dosage zero?

It translates the purity of the fruit, with nothing to hide, with our latest vintage showcase lively effervesces, with subtle and fresh white peach, green apple mousse, an exceptional length and seamless finish (with no added sugar or sulphur).

Q: What cellar technique is the most important when it comes to making Blanc de Blancs Brut?

Involvement in every step of the process. Winemaking is about adapting and adjusting according to the challenges from grape to bottle. A construct I always keep in mind; perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

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