One of Bot River’s foremost wine estates, Gabriëlskloof, has announced the appointment of its new winemaker. Peter-Allan Finlayson will commence his magic on the 1st of July 2014.
Peter-Allan is one half of the team behind the small wine brand Crystallum, and needing a permanent laboratory in which to concoct his wines, he is joining the Gabriëlskloof team, where he will work with wife Nicolene and father-in-law (and owner of Gabriëlskloof), Bernhard Heyns, on his own wines as well as the established estate wines. With a Finlayson family history in wine-making, he is excited to be continuing the tradition while joining forces with another great producer.
“This is really an incredible opportunity. I look forward to building on the great work of Kobie, and entering into a new, challenging winemaking chapter in my life. Bot River has some of the best soils in the country, and this area, while already having produced world class wines, will only become more renowned.” Says Peter-Allan.
Bernhard is delighted to have his son-in-law as the new winemaker, and sees it as an important evolutionary step in Gabriëlskloof’s progress. “Apart from the fact that it’s sometimes necessary to re-focus and rethink a business like Gabriëlskloof, it’s clear to us that Peter-Allan has the necessary flair and passion to take our wines to the next level.”
Peter-Allan will be taking over from Kobie Viljoen, who played an important role in setting up the wines for the success they have achieved since Gabriëlskloof’s maiden vintage in 2008, when he joined the estate. He says of his experience, “I am proud to have been associated with Gabriëlskloof and the Heyns family and grateful for the successes we’ve achieved together in the past six years”.
Gabriëlskloof began its journey in 2002 when fate destined Bernhard to meet Barry Anderson, a local farmer, whose wife fell in love with the little ramshackle cottage on the farm Avontuur where she used to graze her horses.
Bernhard’s vision was to establish a winery in Bot River starting with a clean palette, and the decision to buy and develop Avontuur (soon to be renamed for the original owner in 1860, Gabriel le Roux) came quickly.
Barry and his wife, Catherine moved to the farm to renovate the cottage that is today their home. Barry is the director and viticulturist for Gabriëlskloof, and Catherine is the marketing manager. Together with Bernhard and Kobie, they formed the core team that would build up Gabriëlskloof to become the lovely, characterful farm it is today, a mere 12 years on.
In this new chapter of Gabriëlskloof’s story, Peter-Allan and Nicolene will form part of this core team, and will share the vision of creating wines of distinction from Bot River. (In tandem with the existing Crystallum brand, which focuses mostly on Hemel-and-Aarde grapes).
Gabriëlskloof is a special destination winery on the outskirts of the Bot River Wine ward in the Walker Bay District. Apart from a stylish tasting room with its cosy fireplace and views of the Babylonstoren mountains, the cellar complex boasts a restaurant, where delicious, hearty fare is served with love by chef-owner Frans Groenewald and his wife Mariaan, as well as a delightful little chapel for weddings.