Interview: Jaco Brand of Piekenierskloof Wine Company
By Christian Eedes, 16 February 2016
From the February issue of Business Day WANTED: Piekenierskloof Wine Company, previously Citrusdal Wines, is a collaboration between Fairtrade-certified grape farmers, Fairview’s Charles Back and UK wine marketer Mike Paul. It’s no mean undertaking producing 50 000 cases of own label wine and a further 200 000 cases for clients according to Platter’s 2016, and the 35-year-old Jaco Brand is cellar master here.
He’s married to Cornel and they have two children, Emsie aged seven and Kobux aged four plus a border collie named Bles. They live on the cellar premises and Brand says the swimming pool is absolutely essential for surviving the extreme summers of the region, the temperature climbing to 45⁰ C in January and February.
There’s a lot of excitement around Grenache at the moment but there’s not a lot of it around. How much does Piekenierskloof Wine Company have access to and how old are the vines?
The oldest vines were planted in 1968 but we also have some planted as recently as 2008. Out of the 9 000 tons we take in on average, just over 200 tons are Grenache.
What makes Piekenierskloof suited to growing Grenache?
Grenache is ideally suited to being cultivated as a bush vine in hot areas like the southern Rhône. Our vines are untrellised and we get warm summer days but cold nights which really helps with flavour development. Winters are very cold which aids vine dormancy.
Tell us about your Grenache Rosé.
Grapes underwent a three-hour skin contact giving it its attractive pink colour. 50% of the wine was fermented in new barrels for a bit of extra body. You’ll find the wine has strawberry and raspberry flavours plus a little spice.
The renowned Charles Back is one of the owners of Piekenierskloof Wine Company. What is he like to work with?
He is a great person to work with. He knows exactly what he wants in life but equally is a very humble person.
What has been your most memorable wine experience ever?
It was last year when we crushed 10 000 tons of grapes. It is the most I’ve ever harvested in the 10-plus years I’ve been with the company.
You’re a keen golfer. What’s the appeal?
Golf to me is quality family time – they join me while I play. I just enjoy it so much more with them around than when I’m involved in a more formal round.
What is your ideal food pairing with Piekenierskloof Grenache Rosé 2015?
My ideal food with this great wine is avo sliced in half, filled with anchovies, cream cheese and a dash of tabasco.