Gerhard Smith’s day job is as part of the the winemaking team for Creation Wines in the Hemel en Aarde. He makes the Kat se Snor (the Cat’s Whiskers) wines as his own side project – a few small parcel, hand (and foot) crafted wines of individual character and texture.
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 winery for Gladstone Vineyard in the Wairarapa for eight years before returning to South Africa (without becoming an All Black supporter).
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 that are fun to drink, and I’m delighted to be working with the wonderful sites we have at our disposal on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge.” When not making wine, he enjoys to braai (BBQ for the non-South Africans), eat good food and drink good wine with friends and family.