Meet our New Co-Owner and Winemaker
If there is one thing this year has taught us is to ‘never say never’. Never did we in a million years think that 2020 would turn out like this.
But without adding to the current drama, please join us so we can introduce you to Riaan, our new co-owner and winemaker here at Wildehurst Wines
Riaan grew up and matriculated in Piketberg, a town in the heart of the Swartland.
After graduating in 1997, as a qualified winemaker from Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch, he kicked of his winemaking career as assistant-winemaker at Windmeul Winery, Paarl.
Discovering the wine world
Soon after he followed his desire of discovering the amazing “wine world”, as he started traveling and gaining experience at prestigious wine estates. He worked in Bordeaux at Chateau Angelus, St. Emillion, a top French wine producer as well as a Premier Grand Cru Classe Chateau.
Followed by two vintages in Napa Valley California where he met his Uruguayan wife Claudia Lugano. She is an Italian descendant who grew up in the heart of the winelands in Uruguay, at her family wine estate dating back over a hundred years.
Experience brings new opportunities
After the new millennium, Riaan settled in his first opportunity as an experienced winemaker at L’Ormarins Wine Estate, Franschhoek.
In 2005, he assisted with family winemaking activities in Uruguay, became fluent in Spanish and initiated the first biodynamic viticulture and winemaking project within Uruguay.
In 2012, a new opportunity brought him back to the Swartland where he became the head-winemaker at Pulpit Rock Estate in the Riebeek Valley.
In 2016, he was appointed to manage the Swartland winemaking facility for Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards.
Recently he joined Wildehurst Wines at Koringberg as co-owner with Joanne Hurst with the aim to continue Joanne’s legacy of crafting ultra-premium wines for Wildehurst from the remarkable Swartland “terroir”.