“Making wine is like storytelling. In winemaking, you need to listen very carefully to what the vineyard communicates and when you are able to do that, we can tell the story of that vineyard. And when you drink a wine, you need to be transported to that place.”
After graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BSc and BSc Honours in wine biotechnology in 1998, Erika joined Kleine Zalze in Stellenbosch in 1999. Completing harvest tenures in Sancerre, Saint-Émilion and the Languedoc in France, she gained an appreciation for the balance and elegance of the wines of these regions.
In 2005, she took the position of winemaker at Graham Beck Wines and, after a brief stint under the mentorship of Charles Hopkins (then-cellarmaster at Franschhoek), she found herself the sole winemaker in a world-class cellar and living her dream.
Her 12 invaluable years there, where she eventually became cellarmaster of still wines, gave her the experience and confidence to go solo. She established Erika O in 2016 as a boutique winery specifically aimed at producing small batches of hand-crafted, distinctive and terroir-specific wines from selected vineyards across the winelands. She’s always maintained that the following ‘ingredients’ are essential in the art of crafting a fine wine: true terroir, balance, honesty, and a light touch. They tell a rich and deeply fascinating story of a time, a place, and a maker.