Posted on Oct 13, 2015 by Dean Matodes
JD Rossouw, the newly appointed winemaker at Franschhoek
Cellar, has big boots to fill – those of previous winemaker Richard Duckitt,
who has moved to Boschendal as red-wine winemaker after successfully completing
10 harvests here.
JD, who was born and grew up in Paarl, matriculated from
Paarl Gymnasium in 2001. He graduated with a BScAgric in Viticulture and
Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch in 2005.
After completing an internship at Larkmead Vineyards in
Napa, USA, he returned to South Africa, where he did stints as assistant
winemaker at several wineries, including Simonsig in Stellenbosch and Boland
Kelder in Paarl. After two years, he was made head winemaker at Boland Kelders’
8 000-ton Daljosaphat winery in 2009, where he managed 10 permanent staff,
including an assistant winemaker, before accepting his new position.
His favourite varieties to work with are Chenin blanc and
Shiraz: “Both of them are very diverse varieties. I like experimenting with
different yeast and wood components on grapes grown in different soil types. Attention to detail is the most important
‘rule’ in my winemaking philosophy.”
When not in the cellar, JD loves spending time outdoors
camping, hiking, kayaking, diving, fishing and taking part in any kind of water
sport you can think of. He also loves fun adrenalin-rushing sports like ski diving
and zip lining.
He likes reading books by leading South African novelists
Wilbur Smith and Deon Meyer too.
For JD, a perfect Saturday would be playing a round of golf
and ending it off around a braai with friends – and a glass of wine, of
JD is married to Christal, who grew up in Springbok, and
shares his love of the outdoors and all kinds of adventure sports. “I had to
search far and wide for the perfect wife!” he quips. A marketer for SUN MeDIA
in Stellenbosch, jogging and reading are favourite pastimes of hers.
JD’s happy place is Mozambique and his motto in life: “We
regret more the things in life we didn’t do than the things we did!”
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