We chat to one of our members each month about their business, what makes them lie awake at night and what gives them hope. GlenWood’s cellar master DP Burger says consistent quality, great service and thinking outside the box and into a sushi roll has helped them keep pace with the changing times.
1. Tell us more about GlenWood Vineyards
Having now been established for 35 years, GlenWood has continued to distinguish itself as one of the leading Chardonnay producers in Franschhoek and the Western Cape. We pride ourselves on only using grapes from our property, including the Grand Duc Chardonnay block which is now 34 years old and continues to produce outstanding vintages. The farm is 49 ha of which only 30 ha are under Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon vines.
The owner, Alastair Wood, and our team here at GlenWood value continuity. Consistent with this, I have been fortunate enough to work at GlenWood as cellar master for 28 years and have the privilege to be intimately involved in all aspects of the development. In recognition of our continued growth, Natasha Pretorius has been recruited as winemaker to assist me. Following a passion for winemaking, she graduated with a Master’s degree in Wine Biotechnology from the Stellenbosch University in 2016.
“Simple, natural, quality” remains our philosophy with quality taking centre-stage in the past year. The focus has been on the continuous improvement of all processes across the farm, cellar and tasting room to deliver products and services which exceed our customers’ expectations. Our sales are more export driven with 70% of all sales being exported.
We are a small team of 24 employees that make sure we deliver quality products and services.
2. All wine-related businesses were hit really hard by trade restrictions over the past year. How have you had to adapt your business?
We established a gourmet sushi restaurant November last year and aim to serve the best sushi in Franshhoek, paired with our award-winning wines. At the moment we’re focusing strongly on marketing the restaurant to get more feet to the winery.
With this being said, we also continuously spend time on improving our customer services to make sure all the customers will continue to support our winery.
3. Harvest time is now in full swing. How far along are you and what are your expectations in terms of the quality and quantity of this year’s harvest?
We are just more than half way through the harvest with all the whites already busy fermenting in the cellar. The quality is looking exceptional and we are expecting great wines. The quantity is also higher than the previous years. We made sure to look after the vineyards to be able to produce such great quality grapes.
4. GlenWood is well known for your focus on sustainability (Integrity & Sustainability Certified, Wieta accredited, Bhabathane programme and the Cape Leopard Trust). What is the philosophy behind your involvement with all of these programmes?
“Simple, natural, quality” remains our philosophy. Creating simple yet quality wines as natural as possible. We always try our best to give back to the environment and help people along the way.
5. Your message to other wineries on the way forward?
Keep focusing on producing outstanding wines and seek new opportunities wherever you can. Be open to new ideas.