is an art: the one chance you have to express individuality and get away
as a leader, not a follower, Abrie specialised in Sauvignon Blanc when everybody
in the Robertson area concentrated on Chardonnay, and produced a sought-after
Cabernet Sauvignon in a predominantly white wine area simply because he happens
to like Cabernet. Innovative and unconventional, he is now falling back on methods
used in bygone days, including fermentation with natural yeast risky
but extremely rewarding. And he takes it a step further: "Having successfully
worked with natural yeast we hope to convince the Wine and Spirit Board to establish
a certification system for this style of wine-making."
bold experiments in his cellar. "Being my own boss allows me the freedom to
try new ideas, some of which can be risky, but if it doesn't work I only have
myself to blame … I would rather make a monumental stuff-up, than produce large
quantities of mediocre wine." He has taken the cellar back to basics, and his
hands-on, natural approach means that Springfield wines show the individuality
of each vintage, and reflect their unique soil and climatic origins.
grown up among the vineyards, Abrie follows a traditional approach to his art.
With no formal training other than hands-on experience working with his father,
Abrie is an intuitive winemaker who produces truly individual wines. Being both
viticulturist and winemaker he can leave his imprint on the wines even in the
vineyards. The challenge to produce interesting, complex and elegant wine is
exactly what motivates him to
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pioneering spirit of his forefathers is inherent in Springfield's winemaker,
Abrie Bruwer, whose driving force is to produce the best wines he can. "I
only want to sell wine I am proud of and I will only get a limited number
of chances to do that in my lifetime". With this in mind Abrie rises to the
challenge of each vintage and produces wines which reflect the unique soils,
climate and character of each varietal. His passionate approach to winemaking
has brought success for Springfield's wines both locally and internationally
and he has put the terroir of the estate on the global map as the home of
excellent and unusual Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons.
winemaker's affinity with the soil and the grapes is evident when he shows visitors
around the estate. He will often step into the Sauvignon Blanc vineyard, pick
up two flint stones and slam them together like an ancient fire-maker, pointing
out that the gunpowder smell from these stones is undeniably echoed in the subtle
flintiness of the wine. When he relates the story of the pH meter (used to measure
potential acidity in wine), you realise that an uncanny ability to improvise
is part of his make-up. "One year I forgot to order some buffer solution but
I remember being taught that human saliva has the same pH as buffer, so I went
through the vintage spitting on the electrodes."
approaches his leisure time with the same energy and enthusiasm as his winemaking.
An avid fisherman he spends as much time as possible out at sea, be it in South
African waters or places as far afield as Madagascar or the Comoros. He also
enjoys flying and his Mooney F201 is parked at the nearby Robertson airfield.
"A good weekend trip is to fly with my family down to Struisbaai, watching the
whales from the air, and then to go out fishing for the day".
all, Abrie is modest and honest about his approach to winemaking while also
being his own harshest critic. He is involved in every stage of the wine from
vineyard to bottle and ultimately he believes that the best judge of his wine
is the consumer. "I love making wine. If someone wants to buy a bottle, then
I feel that is an added bonus to what I do".