10 Cape winemakers to watch

John Seccombe, Thorne & Daughters

John SeccombeMany winemakers in South Africa these days have travelled the world, gaining valuable experience in great wine regions, and John Seccombe is no exception. What does make him stand out from the crowd is that fact that much of this foreign perspective comes from the English wine industry: he has previously worked at Ridgeview after studying at Plumpton College.

Despite this international background, it is very much the character of the Cape that Seccombe is now working to capture in his wines. “We’re not trying to dress things up in international styles,” he explains. “We wanted to make a solid Cape wine with a modern edge.”

Made with grapes drawn from across the Western Cape, his current portfolio – the first vintage arrived as recently as 2013 – comprises Rocking Horse, a Roussanne/Chenin/Semillon/Chardonnay blend; Tin Soldier, a Semillon Blanc/Semillon Gris blend from Franschhoek; and Zoetrope, a Chardonnay made from bush vines planted above Botriver.

In common with many of the country’s other young producers, Seccombe does not let the absence of his own wine estate hold him back. “I’ve not been very exclusive about where I work,” he admits. “I don’t think we’re really hidebound here to do anything fixed – it’s an open road, we can just do what’s intellectually appealing.”

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