As one of the founding members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, celebrated winemaker at Rustenberg for over 20 years and twice named John Platter’s Winemaker of the Year, Etienne Le Riche is as layered as the wines he creates… at once reserved, yet confident, careful to speak, quick to listen, always warm and reassuringly welcoming.
Etienne consults into all aspects of our business. He is a founding member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and multiple winners of the Platter Guide’s wine of the year award.
Etienne is joined by his son Christo who is today the resident winemaker at Le Riche.
Christo grew up on Rustenberg estate on the Simonsberg, where his dad was the winemaker and it was there that his love for wine and vineyards was kindled.
Working with his father provided him with a basis to understand the industry and know what a career in winemaking would demand from him. After his studies at University of Stellenbosch where he achieved a BSc Agric Viticulture and Oenology followed by BSc Agric Hons Cum Laude Viticulture, he travelled to Napa and Bordeaux to learn about Cabernet Sauvignon production. This enlarged his wine knowledge and life experience. He also worked for a few South African wineries which provided him with a strong base to join the family business from to make exceptional South African wine.
After his travels he started working full time for Le Riche while furthering his studies with an Honours degree in Viticulture.
Christo’s hobbies include surfing, spearfishing, trail running and training his dog for wing shooting. On most weekends you will find him outside in nature. The future, for him, includes finding new and better Stellenbosch vineyards to work with. He said that it would also be great to find a few small vineyards of outstanding quality to own. he will keep perusing the Le Riche vision of producing top Stellenbosch Cabernets and striving toward finding the best expression of our vineyards.”
Both Etienne and Christo share a singular vision: to celebrate the nuances of Cabernet as best as possible. Preferring to be uninhibited by estate classifications, they select grapes from the best possible terroirs Stellenbosch has to offer. “I’m more a fisherman than a farmer,” proffers Etienne with a knowing smile, “I like to cast my net wide to make the right catch.”
Credit – Le Riche Wines, anchoroenology.com