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Trizanne Barnard on embracing the unknown

Trizanne Barnard on embracing the unknown

“The perfect wine lies with the wine drinker.” – Trizanne Barnard

And if her product can enhance that experience, then this winemaker is happy.

Trizanne Barnard takes an adventurous approach to winemaking for Trizanne Signature Wines, which is certainly an extension of her life philosophy to “embrace the unknown”.

Having worked and travelled extensively, Trizanne believes it’s important to open your eyes to the world and embrace the adventure. Her passions include surfing, raising a family and of course winemaking – with a particular preference in her winemaking for grapes from Elim and the Swartland. Through her wine she hopes she will transport the drinker to its place of origin. We chat to her to find out more…

Trizanne, how would you describe your winemaking style?

Elegant and always trying to respect the fruit in such a way that there is a sense of place/area from where the grapes are from.

What is your approach to winemaking and how is it different to others’?

My winemaking is very simplistic, I try and work ‘lightly’ with the fruit.

When did you discover your passion for winemaking?

When I started physically making wine for the first time in 2002 during my internship at Jordan Winery.

What are your own personal qualities that you think are important in your work as a winemaker?

Attention to detail, diligence, cope well in stressful environments and can quickly hatch a plan. I also trust my intuition.

Trizanne Barnard
You have worked within the Swartland and Elim regions, in your opinion, What are the key differences between Elim and Swartland in terms of region and varietals?

Cool vs Warm – this is the major difference, together with the soils, proximity to oceans and the varietals that thrive in these unique terroirs.

When the wine drinker tastes a wine from the Swartland region, what are they expected to experience?

They will experience intensity of fruit, grainy tannins, depth, lingering mouthfeel.

And Elim?

Purity of fruit, lots of expression of spice, silky tannins.

Do you have a mentor or someone that has influenced you greatly? If yes, who is it and why.

Yes, I have many and in various ways during different times in my career. Gary and Cathy Jordan were my first influencers on how to run a business, Adam Mason – and how to think outside of the box, Bruce Jack – how a great story can go a long way.. and one of the most valuable lessons I was taught: surround yourself by great people – people who are better than you.

If you could invite any five people for dinner, who would they be?

Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl – imagine the stories they can concoct over your wine, Jeff Bezos – well for obvious reasons…“The right way to build a brand is by delivering a great service. Customers learn about who we are as a result of interacting with us. A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. People notice that over time. I don’t think there are any shortcuts.” Steph Gilmore, because you don’t just win 7 world titles without being someone quite extraordinary, Antoinette Pienaar – because I love her knowledge on herbs and natural medicine and her giggle is just the best.

What is a day in the life of a winemaker look like?

Not one day is the same because I run my own business, so one day is vastly different to the next…(can’t actually answer this one – as it would lead to paragraphs…)

How do you balance work and raising a family?

Time management. Planning, utilising every work minute…it is a fine balance and I don’t get it always right. I also have a great support team on both sides which I won’t be able to do without…so making sure you have those support systems in place.

What challenges (If any) have you encountered entering such a male-dominated industry?

I am probably my own biggest challenge, not being too hard on myself, in my early days I worked so incredibly hard to prove myself worthy in this male dominant world – that I often think I brought that onto myself and not the environment itself…but I don’t think I’m alone, a lot of women winemakers are working like this to ‘prove’ themselves in this industry…it might be ourselves creating the challenges… we are totally equal and often better in this job…and I have finally reached a point where I don’t feel I need to ‘prove’ myself… I keep on creating other challenges for myself – as this keeps me driven, but the male dominated environment is certainly not a challenge for me anymore.

What are some of your other hobbies?

Surfing, yoga, reading

What would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker?

Running my business for 11 years – not without major ups and downs, but still proudly owning my business today and creating wines that I genuinely like to drink 🙂

What do you consider to be the most rewarding thing about your job?

Creating something that others appreciate.

You’re on death row. What’s your last glass of wine?

Well it will be Romanee Conti – because perhaps then I can exchange my glass for my life.

And finally, a note on her 2019 harvest, shared by Trizanne in her March 15th newsletter:

This year I’m also celebrating my 21st harvest since graduation in 2002 (In my earlier years I doubled up on vintages in the Southern and Northern hemispheres).

The Elim harvest started approximately 2 weeks earlier than usual this year. We’ve had a drier season, with less rain during the ripening and picking period, resulting in super healthy grapes.

The grapes all ripened at the same time, forcing me to pick Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Syrah in one week – which was a first for me.

The Semillon grapes looked particularly healthy, as they managed to get a little extra hang time on the vine. I’m really excited to see this batch develop further in barrel.

All the whites have finished fermenting in barrel, and by the end of the week I will finish the bâtonnage on the whites, sulphur them up and put them to bed. I have also pressed my last reds and racked them to barrel for malolactic fermentation.

All in all I am very optimistic about 2019, but it is still early days…

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