Born and bred in the central part of South Africa “amongst maize and sunflowers”, becoming a winemaker was one of the more least-likely careers for Ryno to follow. However, he always had an interest in wine:
My uncle was a winemaker and I’ve got great childhood memories of visiting wineries with my family… they didn’t let me take part in the tasting though!
Ryno studied Microbiology at university, before moving to the University of Stellenbosch to study viticulture and oenology (alongside JD Rossouw). After graduation, Ryno worked as a winemaker for Aan de Doorns, where he stayed until joining Boutinot in 2016.
The day Boutinot received the keys to Wildeberg was the day Ryno joined the team. “I arrived here, and everything was just bush and chaos”.
He is responsible for sourcing and making Boutinot wines from the Western Cape (Breedekloof, Worcester, Klein Karoo and Robertson regions), working alongside JD Rossouw.
My aim is to find wines that tell a story… wines that sum up and express what South Africa is all about…fresh, bright, diverse and open
Known as the ‘Cowboy’ at his previous job because of his inventiveness, winemaking for Ryno is about pushing boundaries, being creative and hands on. “The creativity of making something that people really enjoy is a huge driving force in being a winemaker.”
Pinning down a favourite grape varietal for Ryno is no mean feat! “I love working with Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot but also Cabernet because it’s not an easy cultivar to make. I love Chenin Blanc as well because it’s a cultivar that’s highly underrated in South Africa… but you can make really great Chenin Blancs”
When he’s not in a vineyard, Ryno likes to spend time with his wife and two boys (they keep him very busy!), taking them camping or going mountain biking.