Your 2018 Winemaker of the Year
- When Johan started Kruger Family Wines 3 years ago he’d just chucked in a safe Stellenbosch job to follow his dream. Money was tight so he could only rent a place to make his own wines, and was spending a ton of time on the road selling them. A total waste of his time and talent.
- Then we got a tip-off from South African legend Bruwer Raats. He said Johan was just the kind of insanely talented, up and coming winemaker Naked was born to champion. We signed him up, gave 200,000 Angels access to his wines, and boom! It was love at first sight (on both sides).
- Angel funding is helping Johan to plant new vineyards, expand his winery and kit it out with even bigger and better barrels, raising his whole operation. He’s been humbled, and truly gobsmacked, by all the love and support Angels have shown.
Map of the Vineyard
Johan Kruger's Story
"I started working on Sterhuis, in the vineyards in 1998, this is our family farm. Then, after two years of grafting on the steep slopes and getting a better understanding for the viticulture, I thought it is sad to put this hard effort into the vineyards just to sell off the grapes. In 2000 Gary and Kathy Jordan from Jordan winery offered me a position as harvest intern. As I walked into the winery seeing all the tanks, pipes, pumps etc. I just knew, this is what I was born to do. After doing a stint at Sonoma Cutrer (producing 3000 tonnes of barrel fermented Chardonnay ) I also realised that this is the variety I would like to work with most. I ended up spending four years at Jordan winery where I also had the opportunity to start up the Sterhuis brand in 2002, the rest as they say, is history.
I am an earthy person / nature child and what better way to bring nature and people together than having the opportunity and God given talent to make wines for people to enjoy.
I`m a peoples person, and you have to love people in our industry, then probably also the diversity of our work, you have to be an accountant, marketer, handyman, salesman and off course spending long hours in beautiful vineyards and even longer hours in the winery with lots of love to the wines.
Nature and the respect of nature and terroir I would say are the key factors that make our wines special. I`m by no means a technical winemaker, I make wines with my gut feel, that gives my wines a certain appeal and a sense of place I would say.
Whenever someone asks me what my favourite varietal is, my answer is always the same. Chardonnay, Chardonnay and then lastly Chardonnay. . . . I feel that Chardonnay is the greatest translator of terroir and for me, that is what wines should be : a reflection of where they came from.
My most memorable moment making wines would have to be when I was in Burgundy. I have been to Burgundy quite a few times for obvious reasons, the second time I was there we were staying at Domaine de Clivet, a friend of mine`s small winery outside Beaunne, after many tasting that morning we decided to have a braai ( barbeque ) . It was September, so just before harvest and the whole day traveling through the area we saw this one guys going through his vineyards. As the sun set that evening we saw in the distance, the same guy walking through his vineyards , still with his yellow jumper on, playing the violin. . . .the utmost respect for his vines, just before harvest!
We are starting up a new family this year, at the ripe old age of 40 I found the love of my life, Sofie, who has been an amazing blessing to me. We are starting an amazing chapter in our life and I was looking for a new venture to expand our business, knowing of awesome wines and vineyards without a home. Now I have the opportunity, funded by Amazing Angels, to get these wines into your home, spread the love, is what I say!!!!."
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