In line with his philosophy of living life to the fullest, Lourens van der Westhuizen has an infectious passion for wine. As the first-generation winemaker at Arendsig, it is in the beautiful Robertson valley that Lourens and his team hand-select grapes of the finest quality, from which he hand-crafts his quality wines with their unique and distinct aroma, flavour and character.
We caught up with this artisan winemaker to find out more about how he is breaking new ground for wines from the Robertson region.
What initially sparked your love for wine?
Growing up as 5th generation on our family-owned farm planted a little seed to grow the passion within. This family-owned farm is where memories were made and the seed to future prospects planted. Bare footed, playing on my imaginary farm in my mum’s garden sent me on my imaginative journey that lead to what Arendsig is today.
How many years have you been making wine?
After my studies I worked at Glen Carlou for one season, after a vintage in California and one in Burgundy. In 2004, I became the first-generation winemaker on our family farm, Arendsig Handcrafted Wines
Tell us more about your philosophy or approach to making wine – what makes it unique?
My passion is to create single vineyard wines, wines that are crafted from unique soil, climate and location. In the winery, the wines are made with minimal interference, spontaneous fermentation, and natural clarification. Maturation takes place in neutral vessels, to express the terrior rather than oak. The handcrafted approach by human nature helps to add to the final balance of this unique product.
How do you know when you’ve got a good vintage?
Every vintage is unique in its own way. Its how you adapt to the natural influential factors. If my gut feel was good, then it equals a great vintage.
Which foods do you like to pair with your wines?
When it comes to food pairing I rather leave it to the experts in the kitchen!
Do you have any top tips for choosing wines to serve at a dinner party?
At an dinner party it is key to get everyone in the right mood first. So an MCC is always safe.
Do you enjoy cooking or consider yourself quite handy around the kitchen?
I like to play around in the kitchen, but it’s not something I do every evening. I tend to enjoy lighting the fire and putting something on the grid.
Which Le Creuset wine accessory is top of your wishlist?
Definitely a bottle opener, such as the TM200 or WT110 Waiter’s Friend.
What achievement are you most proud of during your time as a winemaker?
My biggest achievement is to see how my Arendsig brand gets more and more recognition.
If you weren’t making wine for a living, what would you be doing?
I’d most probably be in the fruit farming business.
Arendsig Hand Crafted Wines can be found on the R317, between Robertson and Bonnievale. Tasting by appointment only – phone 023 616 2835.