- South Africa
- 3 wines
- 2 styles
One of South Africa's hottest talents is making waves with his top-shelf Western Cape wines
Rudi Schultz hails from something of a golden generation, having grown up in a family of 5 brothers, three of them would eventually go on to become winemakers.
Having learnt his craft under the tutelage of SA wine legend Gyles Webb, Rudi launched his own winery in 2002 and caught the attention of critics straight away, with rave reviews for his maiden vintage Syrah. Since then, he’s made a string of critically-acclaimed, top-shelf wines from Stellenbosch and the Western Cape, which you now get to enjoy first-hand.
In his spare time, Rudi teaches surfing and ocean safety in his local community. In fact, he’s such a keen surfer, all of his wines are named after famous surf spots. So just pour yourself a glass of Pepper Street and dive right in. Cowabunga!
Rudi Schultz's Story
I grew up in a busy creative family of 5 boys. My father was a school headmaster, who specialised in biology and a talented artist. My mom was the gentle soul that kept the whole family sane and together. The wider family consisted of a glass blower, 2 singers and a fashion designer. My dad was an avid collector of art, fossils and all things interesting and fostered a love for nature, outdoor activities and conservation with us.
I always knew that I had a sense of adventure. Through my school career all my aptitude tests pointed towards agriculture or nature conservation. After completing my mandatory military service I was certain that an office job was not for me. I craved to be in nature but also to do something creative and challenging. At that point my older brother completed his studies as a winemaker and started working. I was able to do a practical in the cellar where he made wine which ignited my interest in this field. This work experience convinced me that winemaking was the profession for me.
In 1993 I graduated from Elsenberg Agricultural college as a winemaker. The following year I took a "gap year" after my studies and did a trans-Atlantic crossing with some of my school mates on a 50 ft Ketch. The route took us to St Helena island, into the Amazon Estuary, Devils Island (of Papillon fame) and the Caribbean. The plan was to deliver the yacht to Antigua for chartering. Whilst anchored in Antigua a powerful hurricane decimated the Caribbean, sinking our yacht and half a dozen others in the harbour. That brought our trip to an abrupt end. I returned to South Africa for a short while and then started my winemaking career as a harvest intern at Sonoma-Cutrer, Russian River California in 1995. To date I have been making wine fulltime for 26 years.
I love the unpredictability of the job. No 2 years are the same. The excitement of seeing what each season holds, the variety in the crop, the climate and to add control to that mix and direct the wine to develop the way you hope. The combination of what nature and man can accomplish together.
I think what makes my wines special is passion. The passion in finding the little gem of a parcel of vines, manicuring the new Spring growth on the vine, committing to the perfect harvest date and finally nursing the wine to bottle.
I love the secondary aromatics and flavours that come from mature wines. Old vines and vineyards growing in marginal sites are always a thrill to work with,always producing unique and fine wines. Pinot noir is an enigma for me,although I do not produce one under my own label I enjoy the "chase" of producing a great Pinot, more often than not we fail…
My tale of sorrow this year was falling off a stack of barrels in September, resulting in a tibia-fibula break. The tale of exuberant joy can only be the lifeline thrown to my little brand when Naked Wines literally rescued my family business through the South African wine rescue initiative
My most memorable moment making wine would be my maiden vintage in 2002, it was the syrah made from a very dry old river bed vineyard which I still use today, small, thick skinned berries,a lovely wine from a tricky vintage, barrels scavenged from neighbors, money borrowed to start the venture, heady stuff!
Loyal customers help secure the source of fruit from which my wines are made, a financial trickle down is established, growers are paid realistic prices by us winemakers,the grower,his staff and the affiliated communities benefit all from Naked Wines customers funds
Through the Rescue initiative my wines have been exposed to a part of the Naked Wines membership, my North Beach Sauvignon Blanc 2020 was really well received and this is being followed up by the 2021 vintage, currently mid-Atlantic, heading to the UK. I felt Naked Wines would be a great partnership as I have access to secure sources of fruit and this will ensure that my wines are always available, offering great value and keeping the Angels happy.
The great thing about working with Naked wines is one gets exposure to a large, established base of wine-lovers, which is prepared to help winemakers achieve their business goals, make seemingly unattainable projects realizable and positively impacting our agricultural communities
My other big passion in life, apart from family, three German Shepherds, a West Highland terrier… (who is the boss!), two cats and a few birds, is surfing. All my wines are named after famed surf spots off the South African coastline. My dad was an avid spear fisherman, an ocean man and tutor of the oceans ways, he instilled in his five sons a passion for the ocean, this evolved into surfing at a very young age and to this day is the activity that keeps me sane!
By growing my business I plan to financially partner with two community programs where kids from disadvantaged communities are exposed to the ocean, ocean safety and surfing as a clean, life changing and life-saving lifestyle.