Therese De Beer
Therese is an award winning winemaker with 14 years’ experience in the South African wine industry. She earned a B.Sc. Agricultural degree in Enology and Viticultre from the University of Stellenbosch in 1999, shre ventured overseas where she gained experience at cellars in both Australia and California as well as some wine marketing experience at one of the UK’s biggest wine retailer, Majestic Wine Warehouse. After 2 years away from home, the longing to settle in South Africa took over and she joined Groot Constantia as Boela Gerber’s assistant winemaker in 2002. I’ve subsequently played a key role in the creation of two successful wineries, Doolhof Wine Estate and Bartinney Private Cellar, and their brands. I have a deep love for wine and to be part of the process – from grape to bottle to a happy customer’s table – is extremely rewarding. Though wine making falls in my primary field of expertise, I have ample knowledge of vineyard management, marketing, brand building and all related positions. I can therefore successfully manage all areas of a wine business.
Why did you decide to become a wine maker?
I fell in love with winemaking the first time I set foot in a winery. I will never forget that first experience, the way the cellar smelled, the coolness of the ambient temperature as well as the sound of the trickling water from the cooling tanks. For me it’s all the things I love rolled into one: Science, Nature, Art (or creativeness), and passion.
Are there many female winemakers in the world? Did you find it difficult to choose this path?
No, I believe that you can achieve anything if you desire it enough. There are quite a few female winemakers in the world and like all other professions we sometimes have to work extra hard. But please don’t call me a female winemaker, the faster we all agree to keep gender out of it the better. After all, you don’t hear the words ‘female doctor’ all that often anymore
Harvests can be long and tiring and during my younger days that wasn’t really concerning. But now I am trying to build a business while building a family and that is a big challenge! Keeping the balance is tough, especially if you love your job as much as I do.
Are wines that are sustainable harder to produce?
Yes, here you have to keep the balance. You need to consider everything you add to the wine, the amount of water you use, the safety of you winery staff as well as what you do with all your cleaning water and winery waste. This is only a drop in the ocean! South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world and we have an obligation to our children to preserve her beauty and riches but also to make the best product we can.
What goes into creating the perfect wine?
For me, there is no such thing. A winemaker’s quest to make the perfect wine is a never ending path. We are silly ungrateful creatures that are never 100% satisfied, we always strive for better.