JD was destined to be a winemaker even before he was born. Whilst pregnant, his mother helped with pressings and punch downs in their family winery, enriching JD’s forming senses with winery life. His earliest memories are of the “floral aromas in the winery while the fermentations were happening”. JD always wanted to be a winemaker and it all came so naturally whilst helping his father in their Paarl winery and studying winemaking at Stellenbosch University (alongside Ryno Booysen).
After finishing his studies, JD worked for 6 years as head winemaker for Boland cellars, followed by two and a half years at Franschoek Cellars in the same position. Now as part of the Boutinot family JD’s focus is to develop the Wildeberg farm, winery and barrel store.
Every winemaker dreams of starting from scratch, planting vines and building your own barrel store and winery… I’m truly privileged
He also sources and makes the Boutinot wines from South Africa’s Coastal Region (Swartland, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Darling areas). “I love creating wine. It’s challenging, especially with fluctuating prices, weather, quality and style that change every year …every year you start over and one day is different to the next”.
For JD, there’s no grey area in winemaking: it’s either black or it’s white, it’s right or it’s wrong. “You really need to focus on the small stuff in the vineyards through to the bottle because if you slip up on any part, the wine won’t be any good. For me, wine is made in the vineyards and I’m just there to guide it into the bottle with limited intervention, keeping it pure and not fake”.
JD describes himself as a “passionate winemaker, husband of a beautiful wife, proud father and bad golfer”. And if you were wondering what JD stands for, it’s Jan du Plessis… but JD is much easier to say!