A South African winemaking original looking for parcels with personality
- South Africa
- 3 wines
- 3 styles
- 1× crisp white
- 1× rich white
- 1× fruity red
- Arco had his heart set on a life in wine well before he could even drink the stuff! In fact he'd barely broken into his teens when a tour of a Stellenbosch cellar took a firm hold of his imagination.
- At just 19 he moved to the Cape where he worked on 3 vintages with a top draw winery and, as it happens, room shared with our very own Danie Steyler (a name you might recognise from some seriously tasty bottles on our shelves). Quickly working his way up the South African winemaking ranks, Arco established his own winery in 2016.
- Arco now seeks out the very best parcels of grapes from all over South Africa, highlighting with each wine the personality of its region. Chardonnay sits closest to Arco's heart but his flair for smooth red Cinsault and Syrah cannot be missed! Word has it that Arco is also a keen foodie, so those looking for some culinary inspo can look forward to the exciting new pairing recommendations coming your way...
Arco Laarman's Story
I was born in Johannesburg, a non winemaking area in South Africa. I come from a family of 4 kids two older brothers and a younger sister. We had a great upbrining, and a lot of outdoor activities. Waterskiing and so on. A family that loves to cook and i got exposed to all types of food and wine.
On one trip when I was 12 or 13 we visited a wine farm and did a cellar tour. I found what they were explaining very interesting and from then I was hooked, not drinking just hooked. After this holiday, I researched this as a potential career. I bought the first wine magazine with Pieter Ferreira on the cover which at that time only cost R5 and would read up on everything and everyone. My mother took me to the then Stellenbosch Wine Route tastings to ask more about the industry.
We then faxed farms from contacts from a then much thinner Platter Guide. I was offered a cellar hand position with Kaapzicht and at the age of 19 in 1996 moved to the Cape. I did 3 vintages with them and was part of their family. I Shared a room with Danie Steytler JR when he was just 14 Years old. I then worked for a mobile bottling company and bottled wine at Glen Carlou. They offered me an assistant wine making position so in 2000 started with them and became the head winemaker in 2009 till 2016 when I left to start my own business.
I have now been in the industry for over 25 years and including international harvest i have done 30 vintages.
I love the fact the wine is like a time capsule, you capture the vintage in a bottle and the wine shows its characters from that year. As a wine drinker you can choose to drink it a year from production but if the winemaker has done a good job it can be drunk 20 years later, and you can taste a piece of this history anywhere in the world to tell its story. Also I like the diversity of the wine industry first 3 months of the year there is lots of physical work. Then of course some office work, a lot of time also gets spent marketing so this involves a lot of travelling. Winemaking becomes part of your life because it is closely linked to the restaurant and food industry - it is not a job you leave at the office. Every time I take a sip of wine you think about the wine where it comes from, who made, it what food will best pair with it, and so on.
Just passed 10 years with NW in June. Been a whirlwind and a pleasure to sample so many wines over that period. Always happy to return a follow and to help anyone who wants the benefit of 10 years of NW experience :)