The Proust Questionnaire: André van Rensburg

Famously forthright and talented Vergelegen winemaker André van Rensburg on his loves – from Château d’Yquem to Batman – as well as his dislikes, regrets and ideal dinner party guests.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Far away from everything and everyone in the Kalahari.

What is your greatest fear?

That I won’t be able to complete what I set out to do at Vergelegen.

Which living person do you most admire?

Queen Elizabeth II. She personifies the word regal and has coped with the Poms for 60 years! That is an incredible achievement.

What is your current state of mind?

Happy but also concerned about the world’s financial situation.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Buying and enjoying Château d’Yquem.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A sense of humour.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Terroir and sustainable.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

The what = Vergelegen and the who = my wife Maritza.

When and where were you happiest?

When I was a lot younger at home with my parents when they were still alive.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To play drums or bass in a shit hot band like The Stones.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish to be more patient.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being the winemaker at Vergelegen.

Where would you most like to live?

I am already living there – on the estate.

What is your most treasured possession?

A Laguiole corkscrew that I received from our MD for 10 years’ service to Vergelegen.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Hopefully my passion for what I am doing.

Who are your favourite writers?

Jonathan Franzen, Jo Nesbo, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck. Andre P. Brink, JM Coetzee and John Connolly. Hopefully John Connolly will now start to drink Vergelegen.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Batman – my wife says so!

What is it that you most dislike?

Dishonesty in any form.

What is your greatest regret?

That I sometimes forget to tell my loved ones what they really mean to me.

What is your motto?

Try and live every day as if it is your last.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them?

Francois Pienaar, Rugby World Cup winning captain in 1995; John Smith, Rugby Word Cup winning captain in 2007; Sean Fitzpatrick, New Zealand losing captain in 1995; Pierre Lurton, Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem.
I will serve them Vergelegen Schaapenberg 2008, followed by the 1998 Vergelegen Estate red and lastly Yquem 2005 to soothe the bitterness in Sean Fitzpatricks’ soul!

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