My Wyn is Franschhoek’s smallest wine cellar, the domain of a garagiste, or more grandly a boutique cellar. I made my first wine, a shiraz, in 2001. A mere three barrels or about 900 bottles (along with 400 bottles of sparkling wine for home consumption). Nights spent tossing and turning, trying to dream up a fancy French name came to naught, so in desperation I turned to hubby – what should I call my wine? Just what it was: My wyn.
2012 is the twelfth vintage from My Wyn’s cellar. In time I became more adventuresome – if I could make a shiraz, why not a cabernet sauvignon as well, or something from my favourite eating grape, the plump, juicy cabernet franc? Or a noble late harvest if the season favoured it, a rosé or even a port? What I did realize was that My Wyn had to concentrate on developing a product range.
Growing up as I did on an Eastern Cape farm, my first effort just had to be something full of earthy flavours like a shiraz. Definitely also some cabernet franc, even if was just one barrel, and a bit of petit verdot for being so uniquely its own grape.
Summertime called for something cool though, and the big challenge was to make a white wine without refrigeration, and this is how viognier got under my skin. Temperamental, having to be picked at just the right moment if you wanted to be rewarded with typical viognier aromas. The right time, difficult to predict, a supremely feminine grape! Some sauvignon blanc sourced from my neighbor for my own special blend, Sauviognier (50/50 sauvignon blanc and viognier). And for the sweet tooth, I brewed a little port from non-port cultivars, sparkling wine in the French style, still mostly for home consumption, although by now more bottles to share.
My Wyn’s product range comes straight from the heart – my own style by choice, my procedures unique, my equipment antique. I buy in all my grapes from renowned local producers, from the same vineyards year after year. A trailer taking 75 crates, a destemmer , a 150-year-old crusher, five 500l barrels cut in half for maceration, a 40 kg basket press, a 4-teat bottling machine and a cork machine, plastic buckets, loads of woman power, passion and . . . patience.
I never make more than three barrels of any cultivar. My annual production is around 7 500 bottles, hand-made, hand-bottled. All the wine of My Wyn is unfiltered, labeled by hand (a bit off-centre at times), and with a wax cap instead of a capsule. The nude female on the label symbolises the contents – unadorned and authentic, just as Mother Nature made her.