Winemaker Jaco Brand shares his personal journey and that of the label.

Tell us about your journey into winemaking and how you came to establish Arbeidsgenot Wines?

I matriculated in 1998 at Augsburg Agricultural School and started as a pressing assistant at Du Toitskloof cellar. In 2003, I joined Citrusdal Cellars as bottling line manager. After the winemakers all resigned, I was appointed manager of the cellar. I resigned after 14 years to join Meerhof in November 2017, where I stayed for the next 5 years.

The idea of Arbeidsgenot Wines was born on the golf course with my good friend Jaco Olivier.

What inspired the name ‘Arbeidsgenot Wines’ and what does it mean to you?

My friend and partner’s farm is called Arbeidsgenot, which I think is one of the most beautiful names and means “work is pleasure,” which I absolutely love to do.

Can you describe the unique characteristics of the Swartland region that influence the taste and quality of your wines?

The Swartland is a very unique wine region, offering different soil formations and cultivars. Because it is a warmer area, our Rhône cultivars do very well and get more of the tropical fruit and sweeter palette in our wines.

Can you share with us the varietals you grow at Arbeidsgenot Wines and why you chose them?

We specialise in Rhône; Verdelho, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Grenache Noir, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. All our grapes are purchased from the Malmesbury area

What is the philosophy behind your winemaking process?

To try every year to put the same quality in the bottle, or better.

Where do your grapes come from, and what practices do you follow to maintain the health of your vines?

All our grapes come from specific blocks on a farm in the Swartland, which we’ve been working with for a very long time and we work closely with the vineyard manager.

How do you balance tradition and innovation in your winemaking process?

Every year is different; you work with a product of nature—droughts, wet winters—this is what makes winemaking so interesting.

What is your approach to aging and storing wines at Arbeidsgenot?

All the wines are very ‘large’ wines that contain a lot of new wood and are barrel-matured. All our wines will bottle-mature well in the next 5 years, including the white wines.

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