It feels like we are one big family
She is young, she loves wine and her eyes gleam when she talks about Vergenoegd Löw. Meet our assistant winemaker, Tamsin Valentine (22).
“I am learning something new about winemaking every day,” says Tamsin, who is currently doing her practical year under the watchful eye of winemaker Vusi Dalicuba.
Tamsin, a student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), has a high regard for Vusi. “He is an excellent mentor. If there is something I don’t fully grasp, he will explain in detail what we are doing and why we are doing it.”
Tamsin, who lives in Eersterivier and matriculated at the Hottentots Holland High School, hopes to obtain her diploma at CPUT at the end of the year. Before she started with her apprenticeship at Vergenoegd Löw in Januarie 2023, she spent two months at Koopmanskloof to assist with the harvest.
She says she has been fascinated by wine since her primary school years at Somerset-West Primary. “My parents were extremely strict and did not allow me and my siblings even a sip of wine. So, when my much older cousins drank wine, I used to ask them if I could nose their wine. I was intrigued by the bouquets and aromas I could pick up.”
She says she still loves to nose wine, but a new world has opened to her now she is allowed to also taste it. “Whenever I taste wine, I make notes about what I pick up on the nose, because there is a story in every sip. I don’t drink for the sake of drinking: I drink to enjoy it. My favourite is the Vergenoegd Sauvignon Blanc.”
She says one of the many lessons that Vusi has taught her was that everything is not aways going to be perfect: there are going to be times when one makes a mistake which you then have to try and rectify. She has also learned that each and every cultivar requires different treatment.
She talks with a lot of fondness about her colleagues. “It feels as if we are one big family. If you’re going through a difficult time, someone will reach out and carry you through it.”
She says all the employees meet every morning and afternoon when Vusi, or Johann Scholtz, the facilities manager, review the previous day’s activities and summarise what could be expected on the day ahead of them. They will, for instance, inform the staff how many visitors are expected on the particular day, tell the duck overseers when they have to walk the ducks, or share with them the estate’s latest achievements.
She says every meeting is concluded with a prayer, after which they wish each other a productive and blessed day.
Her dream is to make wine in countries such as New-Zeeland, Australia or Spain. “But, if possible, I hope to gain experience at Vergenoegd Löw for another three or four years.”