Meet DP Burger of GlenWood: an Interview27/08/2018
On 4 and 6 October 2018, Hard To Find Wines will welcome DP Burger, Cellar Master of GlenWood Vineyards in Franschhoek, South Africa, to the UK to host two events. One will be hosted in London and the other at High Grosvenor in Shropshire.
Keep an eye on our social media or sign up for our newsletters to learn more about how to book for these events when details are released.
In advance of these highly anticipated events, we put a few questions to DP to learn more about him and his history at GlenWood.
Question: How did you get into the industry?
My entire time growing up, I was always getting my hands dirty in the soil. I was born and raised on a farm in Franschhoek and as a 4thgeneration French Huguenot, agriculture has always been in my blood. I completed my school career at Boland Agricultural High School in Paarl, where my son, Divan, has just been enrolled. After that, I completed a Diploma in Viticulture at Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch. THIS IS WHAT I WAS BORN TO DO.
Question: Tell us about a highlight you particularly enjoyed at GlenWood?
Harvesting time is always so fulfilling!!!!!!! This is when everything, all hard work of 11 months, comes together and I can get the feeling of how the wines will turn out. Exciting to say the least.
Question: How does the unique setting of GlenWood affect the wines you create?
GlenWood’s terroir brings something extremely unique to the viti- and viniculture processes. We have 6 different soil types on the farm and a microclimate truly unique to this special valley. This all contributes to wines with their own strong characters and is one of the reasons I have been with GlenWood for 27 years. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any vintner and at present it is all MINE.
Question: What is special about the way GlenWood creates wines?
My approach has always been “let the terroir do the work and only guide it through its paces”. I believe in minimal interference and true characteristically vinified wines. As an example, Chardonnay should taste like a Chardonnay you have never tasted before!
Question: What sets GlenWood wines apart from other wines?
Again, without hesitation, I will point to our unique terroir which is nowhere to be found, not even 7 kilometres away in the main Franschhoek Valley. I always describe these wines in a single sentence, “you can taste the GlenWood soil in each and every one of them”. Never will I be arrogant to say it is the best in the world, but without hesitation, I will point out that GlenWood Wines are special and unique to only this special little unknown valley near Franschhoek.
Question: Which is your favourite GlenWood wine? Tell us why.
An extremely unfair question as I like them all! On a serious note, I get this question a lot and answer as follow, “it all depends on my mood, what am I eating, outside temperature and, most importantly, what do I feel like enjoying”.
Question: Tell us about a challenging moment in the story of GlenWood and how it was overcome.
My biggest curveball was on 15 February 2018 when we were struck by a massive hail storm. 80% of our premium Chardonnay, Semillon and Merlot were destroyed, leaving me with the scrapes to vinify. This was truly an ultimate low for me as all the hard work was literarily lying on the ground. We pulled together believing that God had a plan and WOW! The wines we managed to make from these grapes are UNBELIEVABLE, to say the least. Best you get the orders in as there are not many bottles made from the 2018 vintage!
Question: What about wine are you most passionate?
Most definitely the entire industry. Wine builds bridges and I have been so privileged to see the world with a bottle of GlenWood in my hands. I have made friends all over the globe and every time we get together there WILL BE WINE INVOLVED! Where do you get such a great job?
Question: What do you do on your day off?
As a proud dad, my son Divan just received his Western Province colours for Deep Sea Angling and is now a proud Western Province Angler with me! We spend hours on the ocean fishing on our boat Double D. I am also an Arabian horse fanatic and obtained my Western Province colours earlier this year as an endurance rider. This follows some time after my wife Mariska and daughter Kristie who managed this achievement two years ago already. Life is all about balance and I enjoy my off, away from wine, time.
Question: What off-the-beaten-track secret can you divulge about Franschhoek for Hard To Find Wines visitors?
Franschhoek is a fantastic must-visit destination in South Africa! While in this beautiful valley please take the drive down the short gravel road to GlenWood where I promise you an unforgettable food & wine experience! I will be delighted to host you.
Question: Tell us an unusual or memorable wine tale.
I started with Alastair Wood on GlenWood in 1991 developing the farm from scratch. Every vine, every pole have some of my sweat on it, which makes the first ever bottle of Chardonnay produced in 2000 a very special bottle of wine. I still have this bottle in my collection and vouched to open it the day I retire from this fantastic farm.
Question: What’s next for GlenWood?
We always strive to deliver a personal flavour somewhere along the line. The upcoming season will be something for the books with the NEW Food & Wine Experience offer to be released soon. Good food with excellent wine…………………………..what can beat that?