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Ryan Puttick appointed winemaker at The Franschhoek Cellar

Ryan Puttick, the new winemaker taking charge of the engine room at The Franschhoek Cellar, grew up on a crop farm near Hartswater, Northern Cape. It would seem unlikely then that he should choose winemaking as a career, but his adventurous nature, along with regular visits to family in Cape Town and subsequent exposure to fine wine, encouraged him to do just that.

After matriculating at Kimberley Boys’ High, Ryan completed his tertiary studies at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute near Stellenbosch, when he obtained a BSc. Degree in oenology and viticulture. Winemaking tenures at Simonsvlei and Perdeberg followed, as well as two harvest seasons in Germany, where he became well acquainted with grape varieties such as Müller-Thurgau and Riesling. Apart from his extensive winemaking experience, Ryan has also delved into marketing, and with his warm, engaging personality, it is not hard to see why this facet of the wine business fits him like a glove.

When he is not immersing himself in everything wine-related, this outdoor enthusiast loves to go camping with his wife, Kathryn, who is a horse breeder and trainer, and their two young daughters. Mountain biking is another big passion, and Ryan hopes to tackle the gruelling Cape Epic before he turns 50. That, and exploring the Winelands of New Zealand for its stand-out Sauvignon Blanc.

Now taking the winemaking reigns at The Franschhoek Cellar, Ryan says that it is exciting to join a company known for innovation and encouraging new ideas, with a vision of always moving forward. He has had a close look at the vineyards with the viticultural team and is upbeat about the promise of the upcoming harvest. The grapes are flowering beautifully, and the recent intermittent rain seems to have alleviated some of the stress caused by the prolonged drought. And while there is no telling how the vineyards will hold up in hot, dry summer conditions, for now, they are in pristine shape. One thing is certain, this eternal optimist will take whatever unpredictable nature sends his way and turn it into gold.