Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim on wine and life

We chat to Takuan von Arnim, who has taken over the family legacy as cellar master at Haute Cabrière and heads up the team behind bringing the much loved wine to dinner tables and celebrations worldwide.

Q: What is a cellar master?

Takuan: This role entails running and coordinating all aspects of wine making, from grape picking and processing, vinification (which is the process of making the grape juice into wine via fermentation), and marketing. It requires a high level of skill in all areas, including the team that is required to make this all possible, to ensure the end product is consistent and that as a brand, the message and offering keeps up with changing palates. I also work closely with our viticulturist and assistant Cellar master, Tim Hoek.

Q: What can an average day look like for you?

Takuan: It depends a lot on season. During harvest the team needs to coordinate picking dates, what we pick, what is ready, and bring this into the cellar, do the necessary tests and manage vinification to ensure that we get the best from our grapes in the cellar.

Harvest and bottling are two very busy times, how we work in both areas affects the end product greatly.

Throughout the year, and when the wine is in barrels, the focus in more on the marketing side, from communicating to sharing concepts and beliefs with industry and consumers.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about the job?

Takuan: I think most people think that working in the wine industry is a big party with lots of wine! While there are aspects of this, like in every industry, the role in far more intense. I attend many conferences and wine showcases, or take part in them. I also travel overseas to get insight into what is happening in other wine regions. We also invest a lot of time into training our staff, and also rewarding them.

Q: The biggest challenge and your favourite element?

Takuan: I think the industry faces this, but getting information out to consumers to expand their wine base and experiment with wines is a challenge. The industry can be intimidating and often this stands in the way of consumers enjoying wine, having fun with it and exploring it.

The industry is also very large so finding ways to talk to people to pique interest is also very important. Finding a balance between the messages of enjoyment and knowledge is also a challenge, at the end of day both impact how people enjoy wine.

We are also at the mercy of nature, which means that all the planning groundwork can be done, but there is a still wild card that presents itself in some form!

Q: What makes Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan wine unique?

Takuan: Our focus from day one has been Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, we only grow those two grape varietals. We are pioneers in the Méthode Cap Classique and through that have been able to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir enjoyable and accessible in still wine as well.

Our iconic Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir is also an industry leader, for its versatility and quality.

Q: If you were not a Cellar master, what would you be doing today?

Takuan: Running Apple! The brand is creative, efficient, allows expression and it’s about precision. There is also an affinity for beauty and how to make the end user experience all of this as essential to their lives. Those are all areas that appeal to me and what I try to bring to my role as cellar master.

Q: Current trends and challenges in wine industry?

Takuan: All industries face that there are perceptions that consumers create linked to their experiences, which in some cases cause them to be intimidated or put off. For example, nosing a fruit in a wine and being the only person to smell this, while the rest of the group smells something totally different, depending the group, this can be a daunting experience. These experiences influence greatly how a person then thinks about wine. Most of the times, it’s not how the cellar master intended it to be. At the end of day, we are passionate people that want to share what we create and create a platform for people to feel free to explore and discover.

Q: Who inspires you or anyone you admire in the industry?

Takuan: Mark Kent from Boekenhoutskloof stands out for me. He is a visionary that has been able to turn a lot of his vision into reality.

There are a couple of German friends I have who are second generation Cellar masters that are doing amazing work to take the industry to new levels. I admire Cellar masters who are passionate about making something that is artful, expressive of themselves, and also of the terroir.

Q: Any secrets or new things from the estate you can share?

Takuan: We have just launched a new 100% Chardonnay under the Haute Cabrière brand. There are only 1000 bottles, so make sure to get yours from our Tasting Room. We are very proud and have many other plans in the pipeline for our wine range.

Takuan shares some insight on the Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan ranges and why he loves each one:

Pierre Jourdan Brut: On the nose you will immediately pick up the freshness from the Chardonnay, and the citrus characteristics. This is then followed with fine berries on the palate, thanks to the Pinot Noir which adds structure to the wine.

Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose: I love the nose of our Belle Rose with the amazing mix of berries followed by a rich palate which just lingers on and on, allowing one to fully understand the true power of Pinot Noir. The name is also sentimental, when my grandmother Theodora first saw the colour, she insisted on the name Belle Rose, which means ‘beautiful rose’.

Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs: This is my private love for Chardonnay as the dominating varietal for MCC. I get to express my passion for the style in this bottle. The long period of the lees tames the racy acidity and it has the perfect baIance of oak maturation. This bottle expressed the purity and precision of Chardonnay.

Haute Cabrière Tranquille: This wine is a key ingredient to lovely and lengthy lunches, and may be the reason for any perceived ‘all-day’ partying! It surprises over and over again at how it handles and challenges most dishes. The elegant blush is also a defining and beautiful characteristic. We pronounce it as ‘trang-kill’.

Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Unwooded: This wine is an expression of Pinot Noir that we want everyone to share and enjoy. It’s also a great wine for those new to red wine.

Pinot Noir Reserve: We only use 30% new French Oak, which I select. Then for ten months it matures in French oak barrels, after which it then matures for a further year in the cellar.

Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir: My dad, Achim, well known for his stubbornness, or he will protest it as ‘being particular’, was reminded of the power of nature with this wine, but was left with a gem in this wine. It brings more flavours and people together that any wine I know. It’s about true experience. It’s inspiring and I am inspired to take this wine to new levels. You will see the elegance of Chardonnay and the power and structure of Pinot Noir in every sip.

Ratafia: We refer to this as liquid gold! Great for an aperitif – a pre-dinner drink. It also works well with rich dishes like terrine and scallops or blue cheese and chocolate fondant with a high cacao percentage. Our chefs even use it to poach fruit for desserts, which adds a great flavour layer to the experience. This wine is also fortified with potstill brandy.

 

When we asked Takuan for a favourite pairing, he smiled and said that the beauty of the Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan wines is that they allow open minded creativity, making it so hard to choose, as each pairing is able to be exactly what it needs to be, to be enjoyed and for the wine and food to work together to create something unique.

 

Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim on wine and life

We chat to Takuan von Arnim, who has taken over the family legacy as cellar master at Haute Cabrière and heads up the team behind bringing the much loved wine to dinner tables and celebrations worldwide.

Q: What is a cellar master?

Takuan: This role entails running and coordinating all aspects of wine making, from grape picking and processing, vinification (which is the process of making the grape juice into wine via fermentation), and marketing. It requires a high level of skill in all areas, including the team that is required to make this all possible, to ensure the end product is consistent and that as a brand, the message and offering keeps up with changing palates. I also work closely with our viticulturist and assistant Cellar master, Tim Hoek.

Q: What can an average day look like for you?

Takuan: It depends a lot on season. During harvest the team needs to coordinate picking dates, what we pick, what is ready, and bring this into the cellar, do the necessary tests and manage vinification to ensure that we get the best from our grapes in the cellar.

Harvest and bottling are two very busy times, how we work in both areas affects the end product greatly.

Throughout the year, and when the wine is in barrels, the focus in more on the marketing side, from communicating to sharing concepts and beliefs with industry and consumers.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about the job?

Takuan: I think most people think that working in the wine industry is a big party with lots of wine! While there are aspects of this, like in every industry, the role in far more intense. I attend many conferences and wine showcases, or take part in them. I also travel overseas to get insight into what is happening in other wine regions. We also invest a lot of time into training our staff, and also rewarding them.

Q: The biggest challenge and your favourite element?

Takuan: I think the industry faces this, but getting information out to consumers to expand their wine base and experiment with wines is a challenge. The industry can be intimidating and often this stands in the way of consumers enjoying wine, having fun with it and exploring it.

The industry is also very large so finding ways to talk to people to pique interest is also very important. Finding a balance between the messages of enjoyment and knowledge is also a challenge, at the end of day both impact how people enjoy wine.

We are also at the mercy of nature, which means that all the planning groundwork can be done, but there is a still wild card that presents itself in some form!

Q: What makes Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan wine unique?

Takuan: Our focus from day one has been Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, we only grow those two grape varietals. We are pioneers in the Méthode Cap Classique and through that have been able to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir enjoyable and accessible in still wine as well.

Our iconic Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir is also an industry leader, for its versatility and quality.

Q: If you were not a Cellar master, what would you be doing today?

Takuan: Running Apple! The brand is creative, efficient, allows expression and it’s about precision. There is also an affinity for beauty and how to make the end user experience all of this as essential to their lives. Those are all areas that appeal to me and what I try to bring to my role as cellar master.

Q: Current trends and challenges in wine industry?

Takuan: All industries face that there are perceptions that consumers create linked to their experiences, which in some cases cause them to be intimidated or put off. For example, nosing a fruit in a wine and being the only person to smell this, while the rest of the group smells something totally different, depending the group, this can be a daunting experience. These experiences influence greatly how a person then thinks about wine. Most of the times, it’s not how the cellar master intended it to be. At the end of day, we are passionate people that want to share what we create and create a platform for people to feel free to explore and discover.

Q: Who inspires you or anyone you admire in the industry?

Takuan: Mark Kent from Boekenhoutskloof stands out for me. He is a visionary that has been able to turn a lot of his vision into reality.

There are a couple of German friends I have who are second generation Cellar masters that are doing amazing work to take the industry to new levels. I admire Cellar masters who are passionate about making something that is artful, expressive of themselves, and also of the terroir.

Q: Any secrets or new things from the estate you can share?

Takuan: We have just launched a new 100% Chardonnay under the Haute Cabrière brand. There are only 1000 bottles, so make sure to get yours from our Tasting Room. We are very proud and have many other plans in the pipeline for our wine range.

Takuan shares some insight on the Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan ranges and why he loves each one:

Pierre Jourdan Brut: On the nose you will immediately pick up the freshness from the Chardonnay, and the citrus characteristics. This is then followed with fine berries on the palate, thanks to the Pinot Noir which adds structure to the wine.

Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose: I love the nose of our Belle Rose with the amazing mix of berries followed by a rich palate which just lingers on and on, allowing one to fully understand the true power of Pinot Noir. The name is also sentimental, when my grandmother Theodora first saw the colour, she insisted on the name Belle Rose, which means ‘beautiful rose’.

Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs: This is my private love for Chardonnay as the dominating varietal for MCC. I get to express my passion for the style in this bottle. The long period of the lees tames the racy acidity and it has the perfect baIance of oak maturation. This bottle expressed the purity and precision of Chardonnay.

Haute Cabrière Tranquille: This wine is a key ingredient to lovely and lengthy lunches, and may be the reason for any perceived ‘all-day’ partying! It surprises over and over again at how it handles and challenges most dishes. The elegant blush is also a defining and beautiful characteristic. We pronounce it as ‘trang-kill’.

Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Unwooded: This wine is an expression of Pinot Noir that we want everyone to share and enjoy. It’s also a great wine for those new to red wine.

Pinot Noir Reserve: We only use 30% new French Oak, which I select. Then for ten months it matures in French oak barrels, after which it then matures for a further year in the cellar.

Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir: My dad, Achim, well known for his stubbornness, or he will protest it as ‘being particular’, was reminded of the power of nature with this wine, but was left with a gem in this wine. It brings more flavours and people together that any wine I know. It’s about true experience. It’s inspiring and I am inspired to take this wine to new levels. You will see the elegance of Chardonnay and the power and structure of Pinot Noir in every sip.

Ratafia: We refer to this as liquid gold! Great for an aperitif – a pre-dinner drink. It also works well with rich dishes like terrine and scallops or blue cheese and chocolate fondant with a high cacao percentage. Our chefs even use it to poach fruit for desserts, which adds a great flavour layer to the experience. This wine is also fortified with potstill brandy.

 

When we asked Takuan for a favourite pairing, he smiled and said that the beauty of the Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan wines is that they allow open minded creativity, making it so hard to choose, as each pairing is able to be exactly what it needs to be, to be enjoyed and for the wine and food to work together to create something unique.

 

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