JUHAN HUNLUN – WINEMAKER, MONTPELLIER

WHY DID I BECOME A WINEMAKER?
The Greeks said: “Eat, drink and be merry”. Well, I never felt any inclination towards becoming either a chef or a comedian, so that left booze. Becoming a winemaker was truly a childhood dream. Having been brought up on a fruit farm in a small rural community in Montagu and practically growing up in the distillery were my father was crafting brandy led to the passion that I have for farming and winemaking.

Winemaking is everything I dreamed it would be  – and more. You get to see the world, taste endless amounts of wine, meet a lot of new people from all over the world, and then just to keep you humble you get to do a little bit of admin. Winemaking is a lifestyle and you cannot compare it to a 9-5 work as we spend excessive amounts of time in the cellar and in the vineyards trying to keep up with the ever changing elements king.Though there is nothing else in the world that I would rather do then to make wine as this is my passion and building on my knowledge and pushing the boundaries to produce the best wine in the world will always be my goal.

MY PHILOSOPHY:
Precision and endurance.
My motto in life is:” Your mind set determines your success.” And this is the way I pursue winemaking. I believe that every step in the winemaking process plays a big role in how a wine is formed, by giving that extra bit of attention at every step truly takes a wine from good to great. Making wine is truly an art if you get to understand the natural elements that go into the grapes , the grapes are where your wines aroma and flavour will come from.

You can manipulate a grapevine to give you the perfect fruit through smart viticulture practices and canopy management but you can’t take bad quality grapes and turn them into a masterpiece.

I always try to get the basics right before trying to be “fancy”, first look after your vine and make sure your grapes are healthy and taken care of. This is most important as it is the condition of the grapes will decide what winemaking methods you can use. For example, grapes with rot will limit your capabilities in the cellar where even your most basic winemaking methods will give you an unacceptable level of microbial spoilage where, if you were working with healthy grapes, there would be no limits as to what you could do by applying every bit of your knowledge to make the best wine possible. I don’t contain myself to the vineyards or the cellar as a lot of winemakers do. For me winemaking is all being out there in the vineyards and the cellar, sculpting the fruit of the grapevine into a wine that not only reflects nature itself but me as an artist.

HUMIDITY, FLEXIBILITY and PRECISION:
Making the perfect wine is much more then crushing and fermenting grapes. It takes a great team of workers a lot of hours and hard work to produce the perfect wine.
Training and sharing knowledge is fundamental to leading a team, especially when it comes to doing specific work that needs precision.
There will always be a human factor involved and that’s what makes winemaking an art. This is also why not all wines are equal even though they come from the same grape.

IN THE PAST – THEODORE AUGUSTUS BRINK

Theo Brink dedicated 7 years of his career to Montpellier until August 2014.  During this time he helped shaping the vineyards and wines to the award winning quality.

Theo joined Montpellier after working for Distillers (known today as Distell) for 28 year, alongside the famous Hungarian nobleman Desiderius Pongrácz. Theo believed that the only way to produce quality wine is to consistently manicure every single vine to ensure simultaneous optimum ripening of every berry, although he attributed much of Montpellier’s exceptional quality to the variety of soil types at Montpellier.

His dedication throughout the years has been invaluable to everyone involved at Montpellier today and his legacy still lives on in the vines and wines of Montpellier.