The winemaking genius behind one of the worlds most famous dessert wines
Adam has over 2 decades of winemaking experience under his belt. He spent 8 years at Klein Constantia - where he was responsible for Vin de Constance, one of the best sweet wines in the world. More recently, Adam was responsible for the revival of South Africa's prestigious Mulderbosch winery.
- Although most famous for his sweet wines, Adam is passionate about trying new varietals and techniques – and his knack for finding the perfect vineyard spot is uncanny!
- His hallmark? Carefully thought through, classy wines that are the perfect examples of their style, but also respect the uniqueness of site and vintage.
Map of the Vineyard
Adam Mason's Story
"I was born in Zimbabwe, and moved to South Africa as a young boy, then again to Australia for a few years before returning to South Africa when I was 12 years old. During my gap-year I travelled to France where I had the chance to work as a porter in the vineyards of the Muscadet region- my first wine experience. On returning to South Africa I enrolled in a Winemaking degree at Stellenbosch University, graduating in 1997.
Very briefly, I spent the next 4 years working both Northern and Southern hemisphere harvests, then managed a negociant business in South Africa for three years before taking over the role of winemaker at Klein Constantia. I moved over to Mulderbosch in 2012.
During my time at Klein Constantia I started a small wine business called Yardstick Wines, the idea being to focus solely on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Today this has grown a little to encompass several other labels as well.
I've always been fascinated by plants and their ability to sustain us. Be that structurally, pharmaceutically, aesthetically and of course nourishment. But the most fascinating aspect as far as I am concerned is their ability to produce alcoholic beverages in all its myriad forms. Winemaking for me is the 'High-Art' of gardening, the logical conclusion if you will, allowing one to preserve a snapshot of time in a form that no only inspires and delights, but sustains and nourishes. Pretty awesome stuff!
Not counting my failed attempts at making hooch as a minor, I am entering my 20th year as a winemaker, and about to harvest for the 26th time taking into account my northern hemisphere gigs. Time flies when you are having fun!
I love the entire process from conceptualisation, through to managing the vineyards, and then processing the fruit and making the wines. Conceiving the packaging design, and finally seeing it presented is a very rewarding moment indeed.
I love the vineyards and the people who tend them, the teams in the cellar who help me make my wine, and the people who finally promote and serve my wines. I try to keep it as real as possible, as there can be a lot of BS associated with wine, and I feel consumers are after authenticity more than anything else.
I don't really have a favourite variety or style, but I will say that the older I get, the more I rely on my intuition or gut-feel to make picking and winemaking decisions, and the more intrigued I become to learn about organic and biodynamic farming methods. OF all the memorable wine moments I've had, the most impressionable have been Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Burgundy, notably biodynamic producers....
Something I look forward to every year is spending early mornings with the picking teams in the vineyards. The golden morning light, the smell of fresh dew on the vines and the invariably on-point early morning humour are an elixir. I often find myself giving silent thanks for the opportunity to follow my dreams. It is something I do not take for granted.
For me, I would have to say my most memorable moment in my winemaking career was when I had an 'A-HA!' moment, whilst working in Tokaji in 2007. I had spent several years trying to unlock the secret to making Vin de Constance at Klein Constantia, and I was struggling to find a way of balancing the acidity, alcohol and sugar in the final wine in the most natural way possible. Working with Aszu and Essencia in Tokaji I began to understand the value of these very sweet, naturally stable components to their wines, and how they were used to provide consistency from year to year. This experience went a long way to giving me the confidence to explore and further improve my approach to making the Vin de Constance.
With the help of the Naked Angels, I am able to come one step closer to my dream of being independent.
Ever since I first heard of Naked Wines several years ago, I wanted to be a part of it. I love the virtuous concept and I love the disruptive nature of the business. I am so excited to finally be on board!
I think the fact that complete strangers have entrusted me with their money creates a huge bond of trust which I dare not dishonour. There is definitely a different ethic invoked in a relationship such as this, and I look forward to exploring this space.
My ultimate dream is to live and work as an independent winemaker. I hope that through developing a relationship with Naked Wines and you Angels, I will be able to come one step closer to realizing this dream."
Archangels are our most interactive customers. They know our wines inside out and help us discover new wines for the site!