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Winemaker Andries Burger of Paul Cluver Wine Estate

Andries Burger

Winemaker at Paul Cluver Wine Estate

Western Cape, South Africa

Winemaker Andries Burger of Paul Cluver Wine Estate

Andries started his studies at Stellenbosch University with a majoring in viticulture. Soon after his first tutored tastings, he realised that winemaking held more intrigue for him, so he changed majors to oenology instead, graduating in 1994. His affinity for the vineyards remains, which is evident in his winemaking credo – Andries aims to create individual, terroir expressive wines, that are textured, balanced and elegant. Just as the Paul Cluver Wines are the longest established wine producers in Elgin, Andries is the longest established winemaker in the area. Today, his winemaking revolves around Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer and Pinot noir for which he has earned a fine track record of local and international recognition and accolades. Andries attributes his travels and work abroad as a crucial part of his development as winemaker. Experiences to date include stints at Chateaux Margaux with Paul Pontallier, with Michel Roland and at Domaine Comte Senard in Aloxe Corton. More recently he has travelled to the Pfalz and Mosel in Germany to learn more about Riesling, and continues to make an annual sojourn to Burgundy – “just to keep my palate focused”.

I love my job because:

Winemaking offers me the opportunity to create something special and unique form our Estate. It also helps to create memories and experiences for many people sharing my wines at lunches, dinners or special occasions. 

I got the passion to become a winemaker from:

I always loved being outdoors and vineyards always intrigued me, I was introduced to wine tasting with Sunday lunches at a young age by my parents and this sparked the interest, growing up in the Winelands in South Africa Viticulture seemed a logical direction. After formal and more in depth tastings at University, I became more interested it the total process, from grape growing to creating special wines.

My favorite wine is:

Impossible to answer, but I have a soft spot for Burgundy.

Favorite wine to wind down with:

A white Burgundy or Mosel Riesling.

If I could drink it with anyone I would drink it with, where and why:

My wife and family, at home or in the Namib desert. Namibia is my favorite holiday destination, it’s a country with fast contrast, immense beauty and it is where I truly relax.

You'd be surprised to know that:

I am an avid mountain biker.

My favorite vintage is and why:

2015, probable the best vintage I have experienced in South Africa.

What I'm excited about this year’s vintage is:

The wines of 2016 is showing great depth and texture, very palatable wines.

One thing I hope to accomplish in my life is / my biggest accomplishment is:

For Paul Cluver Wines to be recognized as one of the best producers of Chardonnay and Pinot noir not only in South Africa but also the world. Becoming a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild. (www.capewinemakersguild.com)

During harvest, a day in my life is like:

It can vary according to what we harvest, but I like to taste all my fermenting tanks early morning, then the rest of the day is organizing the cellar team, visiting the vineyards for maturity testing and planning the next day. I am quite a control freak during harvest thus spend a lot of time making sure everything runs smoothly, it is the attention to detail and the small things that collectively makes a big difference between being good or great.

Favorite/Least cooperative grape to work with is:

Pinot noir for always being a challenge, Riesling for its versatility.

Biggest obstacle I’ve ever experienced in wine-making:

Being a hands-on winemaker breaking my arm during harvest was quite a challenge. Working with one arm is not easy.




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