Name: Sally & Jasper Raats
Country: South Africa
Currently: Winemaker at Longridge Wine Estate & International Consultant Winemaker
Please, tell us about how you got into wine, the wine industry and how your career developed?
I grew up drinking wine on weekends with my dad and started to collect it by the time I was 12. My career started part time, part time studies, part time winemaking (doing harvests) before I just focussed on that. My brother and I then started Raats family wines, while we both worked for other wineries. During this time I worked in Burgundy, Pouilly Fume, Sancerre and California to gain more knowledge. Pierre Seillan at Verite was a mentor and stimulated me to think outside the ‘recipy’.
What is your philosophy to making wine and viticulture?
To make natural wine: getting the soil and the plants healthy again by not using herbicides, pestcides etc (we are growing our vines organical / bio dynamicly) With good healthy grapes we can make good healthy wines in a natural way. We do not use commercial yeast, enzymes, fining agents etc and adapt our actions to the conditions of each vintage. We not only want drinking wine to be pleasurable, but also a healthy drink too (as it was intended to be).
Which cultivar is your favourite to work with and why?
Pinot noir, it’s the most difficult to get right , but when you do, there is no other wine like it
How do you see the future of wine production and what are the challenges and the opportunities?
In South Africa producers need to sell less wine in bulk and aim at getting the pricepoints higher. Wine farmers cannot continue much longer at the prices they are getting for there grapes.
It will also be good to compete on a level playing field with Europe (where the industry is still heavily subsidised)
Where do you see the global wine market in 2025?
I think there is going to be a big correction, how long will the EU continue with subsidises? South Africa will be competitive at the higher end and we all need to keep an eye on the emergance of China.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com