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Mick & Jeanine Craven Q&A

Mick & Jeanine Craven Q&A

by Will

Owners & Winemakers

Craven Wines

On getting into wine…

Mick: Essentially fell into it by accident to be honest. After being just slightly too stupid to get into Medicine I put down Bachelor of Science (Oenology) at the Adelaide University as a backup as it sounded like a good idea. I was accepted into that and never looked back...

Jeanine: Having grown up on a wine farm, surrounded by vineyards all my life with a dad who was a pretty bloody good farmer, it was something that I wanted to get involved in from an early age. 

 

On the winery and types of wines you are making…

Our story begins back in 2007 while both 'dragging hose' in Sonoma, California, for the harvest season. A chance meeting between an Aussie and a South African has eventually turned into Craven Wines. After both having taken to the text books at our respective universities, we decided to hit the road, see lots of things, work in lots of places and try and learn as much as possible from this massive wine world.

Since meeting we have both been on a similar journey to try and find exactly what we wanted to do. Luckily enough, we had very similar ideas. So back in 2011 we moved to Stellenbosch, South Africa, a place we both have an affinity for. We both feel Stellenbosch has such an amazing array of sites and terroir, and that it is perfect for what we want to do. Which is make site-specific, honest wines. Let the grapes do the talking...

In terms of 'winemaking' we like to keep things as simple as possible. To try and achieve the wines we want to make, we feel the best methods are being hands-off, while being very hands-on. In other words we pay serious attention to the wine but we do not manipulate the wine. We believe the best way to express site and fruit is to show just that. We do not use cultured yeasts, enzymes, fining agents, etc. throughout the winemaking process. We only use older oak and try our best to find larger format barrels. We allow our wines to stabilise naturally if they so want to. Essentially a minimal amount of SO2 (which is our friend) is the only thing added to our wines.

On changes and how South African winemaking is progressing…

I guess the biggest 'changes' we've seen have been a lot more, smaller, quality-focused producers reverting to a more "natural" way of making wine in the cellar. By this we mean using less fancy tricks in bags and additions to manipulate wines. The wines have just become more focused and have a much clearer personality of where they come from. Much more exciting than generic wines tasting all the same via excessive manipulation. 

 

On new opportunities…

For us personally it is to focus and refine what we are currently doing in the cellar and that has come about from working with the same vineyards for a few years now. The other biggest opportunity and excitement is to get more stuck into the vineyards where we take from. After building up good relationships with our growers and taking volumes that actually matter we can be a lot more involved outside. 

 

On speaking to the trade about South Africa…

The UK is probably the most accepting market of South African wines at the moment so the vibe is already strong there which is great. We personally feel the conversation should start to involve more of the regions within regions and also, more importantly, who is farming the grapes and what is happening on that side. Making the stuff is the easy part, farming is where the magic happens. 

 

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

Drinking, eating, laughing and enjoying the UK wine trade. It is the most exciting place for wine in the world. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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