A multi-award-winning winemaker, a Cape Winemakers Guild member and a beloved figure in the wine industry… this impressive description applies to not one, but both Strydoms.
Married for over 20 years, Rianie and Louis met at a wine tasting club soon after graduating (he from Elsenburg and she from Stellenbosch). She called him out on his scoring. “He kept scoring his wines in the middle, I told him to stop being a fence sitter.” And the next week, he asked her out.
Like iron sharpening iron, both have gone on to create some of the best wines coming out of the Cape: Louis, first for Saxenburg, then Rust en Vrede and since the early 2000’s, for Ernie Els Wines, and Rianie, for Morgenhof, then Haskell Vineyards (until late 2018) and now for Strydom Family Wines.
Although possessing two very different styles of winemaking, Rianie maintains that having a partner in the same line of work has been a wonderful thing. The roles each play are demanding and the hours can be long (particularly during harvest), but because both intimately understand this, there’s no friction surrounding it. Their only point of disagreement: “He’s just not quite ready to admit that my Bordeaux blend is better than his!” she says with a wink.
ANDREA & CHRIS MULLINEUX
Husband and wife team Chris and Andrea Mullineux are making some of the most compelling and sought-after wines in the world. They met whilst working vintages abroad in France. In Chris’s own words, “The first wine bar I went to with Andrea was in 2004, near Bandol. We had simple tapas and great Southern French wine and fell in love.”
The power couple then returned to South Africa and it wasn’t long before they started their own venture with Mullineux Family Wines, established in 2007. The accolades followed soon after – including being named Platter’s Winery of the Year multiple times, and Andrea being named Wine Spectator’s Winemaker of the Year in 2016.
The biggest pro about being a couple making wine? “We have a very similar style and palate in mind when picking, blending and maturing our wine,” says Andrea. And the only con (the extreme time commitments whilst raising a young family) are negated by some deft balancing and team work, “Chris spends most of his time in the vineyard (which is early mornings) while I run the cellar (which often means later nights).”
RIANDRI VISSER & DREW HARTY
Riandri Visser is the young winemaker making waves at Cape Point Vineyards, whilst her boyfriend of almost 7 years, Drew Harty is the assistant winemaker at newly-reopened luxury estate Quoin Rock on the slopes of the Simonsberg.