Die Kat se Snor is the private label of Gerhard Smith, winemaker at Hemel-en-Aarde winery, Creation Wines. "Die Kat se Snor wyne is met die uiterste sorg en minimale inmenging geproduseer om 'n suiwere uitdrukking van terroir te verkry. Natuurlik gegis en sonder filtrasie gebottel. Baie lae volumes word geproduseer. Die Kat se Snor is ter ere van my Oupa Kat, 'n ware gentleman, 'n man se man met 'n billike snor".
Gerhard grew up in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town and studied Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch. Upon graduating he gained extensive international experience in France, the USA and Australia before settling in New Zealand where he managed the Gladstone Vineyard in Wairarapa for eight years before returning to South Africa.
Why did Gerhard decide to become a winemaker? “I am from a family of doctors, but realised soon enough that it would be better for the world if I didn’t follow that particular family tradition! Luckily, there were wine farmers on my paternal grandmother’s side, so I followed what seemed to be a natural course: combining a passion for science with my creative and artistic side. So far it has worked for me!”
Asked about his winemaking philosophy Gerhard’s reply is short and to the point: “Farm right, then don’t stuff it up in the winery. My aim is to make elegant, terroir-driven wines, and I’m delighted to be working with the wonderful sites we have at our disposal on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge.”
In terms of inspiration Gerhard doesn’t hesitate to name Wynand Hamman. “He was the cellarmaster at Lanzerac when I started as a wet-behind-the-ears assistant. He introduced me to elegant wines with great finesse, a style I’ve always strived to emulate. The eight years spent in New Zealand and especially the exposure to the excellent New World Pinots from Martinborough and Central Otago were also instrumental in shaping my winemaking style.”
Gerhard loves the Hemel-en-Aarde wine region where he sees vast potential. “Great soils, great sites and great people. The Hemel-en-Aarde is a small microcosm of winemakers all chasing that ‘holy grail’ of winemaking, but prepared to be open, sharing and supportive of each other.”
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