Growing up on our family's sheep farm near Sutherland in the arid Karoo, we really enjoyed the simple pleasures of farm life. Nature has always been in my blood.
After graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BSc and BSc Honours in Wine Biotechnology in 1998, I joined Kleine Zalze in Stellenbosch in 1999. Completing harvest tenures in Sancerre, St Emilion and the Languedoc, France, I gained an appreciation for the balance and elegance of the wines of these regions.
Departing Kleine Zalze for a winemaker position at Graham Beck Wines in 2005 and a brief stint under the mentorship of Charles Hopkins, then-Cellar Master at Franschhoek, I found myself the sole winemaker in a world class cellar and living my dream.
The twelve invaluable years at Graham Beck Wines, starting off as winemaker and eventually becoming Cellar Master of Still Wines, with an impressive list of awards both local and abroad, gave me the experience and confidence to go solo.
I 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.
I’ve always maintained 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.
Winemaking is both my occupation and passion, but my German Shorthair Pointer children keeps me balanced and grounded. I love to spend time in nature, there is just no better therapy for life’s rush than the outdoors, the fresh air, and amazing views.
Voted Platter’s Newcomer Winery of the Year 2019 with 5 Stars for both the maiden vintages Erika O Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 and Erika O Syrah Grenache Noir Cinsault 2016, and the Erika O Sauvignon Blanc 2017 only one point short of the 5 Star, a remarkable achievement and tremendous honour for this “new kid on the block” boutique winery.