Name: Dave Hughes
Country: South Africa
Currently: South African Wine Authority
Please, tell us about how you got into wine, the wine industry and how your career developed?
I “got into” as a development from my being and apprentice distiller. As soon after leaving school I applied to do my National Military. I was called up and enjoyed the army so much that I joined the permanent force. I was then selected to go to Sandhurst officers school in Britain. The group of six budding officers were given three much “home” leave. My Dad said I couldn’t sit around doing nothing and told me to get a “part time” job. I got such in the local distillery and liked it so much I pulled out of the army and became an apprentice distiller. After a year or so my employers decided I should go over to Europe for more training. I worked in distilleries in London, Scotland and Guinness in Dublin. Year or so later I was sent to De Kuypers in Holland, Mumm in Champagne, Pernod in Paris, Cognac and Cusenier. Then when I returned to Southern Rhodesia the company I worked for had been bought by SAB and they owned Stellenbosch Farmers Winery and I was transferred to South Africa where I eventually got to manage the massive winery in Stellenbosch and that is how “got into” wine.
What is your philosophy to making wine and viticulture?
My philosophy is to working with wines and spirits is to be as friendly as can be to the environment.
Which cultivar is your favourite to work with and why?
I now no longer work with varieties as I only judge other people’s wine and spirit. When I was making wine my passion was to get Pinotage accepted by a very negative audience. I also was a champion on making better wine from Chenin blanc and moving it from workhorse to thorough bred. I like both because they were such a challenge to get them to being world class as many now are.
How do you see the future of wine production and what are the challenges and the opportunities?
The challenge is to keep the good vineyard land growing vines and not houses. Also to up-grade the labour force and keep alcohol use in moderation and ensure that Government does not ruin the industry.
Where do you see the global wine market in 2025?
The market ???????????????? China will be important as will the emerging wine drinkers throughout Africa. Also our own domestic market.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com