Richard Kershaw MW Q&A

Richard Kershaw MW Q&A

by Will

Owner & Winemaker

Richard Kershaw Wines

On getting into wine… 

Born and raised in the UK, I worked initially as a chef and was fascinated by different wine profiles and their pairing ability with different foods. After a stint working in the off-trade I decided that I wanted to make wine and travelled extensively working at various wineries around the world before landing in South Africa in 1999. During my time as Cellarmaster for Mulderbosch and Kanu in Stellenbosch, I was drawn to the grapes coming in from Elgin and after obtaining my Master of Wine qualification I set about realising my dream to make cool climate wines.


On the winery and types of wines you are making…

I established Richard Kershaw Wines in January 2012 to create clonally selected, site-specific, cool climate wines in the Elgin Valley, the country’s coolest wine region, choosing to focus on apposite noble grapes (ones with the ability to produce world-class examples) and I now have a stable of award-winning, much in demand wines including the Clonal Selection Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir and the range of single site, clone and soil specific Elgin Chardonnays and Syrahs that form the Kershaw Deconstructed wines. More recently I launched the Kershaw GPS Series - this range explores limited/small production premium wines from other regions of South Africa. I also extended my Smuggler’s Boot range of wines – this is my entry-level range, an experimental range of wines that uses breathable plastic eggs and cubes for fermentation. 


On changes and how South African winemaking is progressing…

With climate change there have been areas that were previously not regarded as wine-growing areas that are now highly sought after. There are more varietals being planted as consumer interest in unusual (for South Africa) grapes increases. Old vines are being recognised for their ability to produce incredible wines. There is a surge in looking to both new and old winemaking methods, particularly with fermentation and maturation options, with eggs, amphora and qvevri being used more. Most importantly the idea of regionality and growing what is best suited to a particular terroir is finally taking hold, with both producers and consumers.

On new opportunities…

With Richard Kershaw Wines having now been established for seven years and garnered great feedback, more and more doors are opening and this is affording me the opportunity to travel more to new markets. I have a parcel of land in Elgin that I am planning to plant with vines (watch this space!). I am also working with my oenologist Dudley to create an algorithm which analyses each individual barrel we use and its influence on the wine, based on us tasting every barrel every six weeks - geeky stuff but we are seeing great results.


On speaking to the trade about South Africa…

Come and visit! Whenever I am in the UK and I look at the South African wines on the shelf in supermarkets and off-licences I am saddened by the general selection - there are so many fabulous wines being produced here.


On what you’re looking forward to when you’re in the U.K…

My family and good friends are still in the UK so I will be enjoying time with them, before heading to Ireland to spend time with my importer there.

I will be pouring my Clonal Selection Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir from Elgin, and my GPS Series Chardonnay and Syrah - both made from exceptional small vineyards further afield.