Behind every great wine is a powerful philosophy, as we learnt from winemaker, Izele Van Blerk, who hails from KWV, one of the largest wineries in South Africa. Izele’s journey, unlike many in the business is somewhat surprising. The winemaker, whose calling card has come to be known as ‘expect the unexpected’, was training in the United States to become a professional tennis player before an injury led her back to South Africa to study winemaking.
“I started with the company as an intern and moved up quickly to become one of their winemakers. I am responsible for a large range of the company’s biggest sellers. Take their flagship, award winning Mentors range, which was inspired by nature,” shares Izele.
The Mentors cellar features a portfolio of eight grand wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Petit Verdot, Grenache Noir, Pinotage, Orchestra and Canvas.
Izele has a BSc Degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and began working at KWV in 2009. The renowned winemaker also has quite a range of other diplomas and experiences under her cap including passing the Michel Fridjhon Tasting Academy exam with distinction, leading her on the path towards wine judging.
Izele is a big believer than ‘no one wine will ever taste the same twice’, and has on occasion intimated that the tasting is one of her passions.
“You understand winemaking better if you can taste it. You have to be your biggest critic,” she shares.
Also under her cap is the KWV Classic Collection, which is a range of stylish and sophisticated wines reserved for the discerning wine drinker in search of a rewarding experience. The year 2018 makes KWV’s centenary.