Braam Gericke has worked at Wildekrans since 2008. He has been in the farming industry all his life. His family comes from George, where his father and grandfather were both farmers, and his family still farms in George and Riversdal. He matriculated in 1996 from Boland Agricultural High School in Paarl. Thereafter he obtained a Certificate in Agricultural Management from the University of Stellenbosch. He has also done a few short courses, including Garagiste Winemaking (Introduction and Advanced), and is currently studying towards his Winemaking Diploma from the University of Stellenbosch.
His work history includes working on farms and cellars such as Babylonstoren, Windmeul Cellar and Ziggurat Wines. He has also worked with winemakers from La Motte, Nederburg, DGB, Boschendal, Glen Carlou, Lust en Vrede, Windmeul, Simonsig, Gabriëlskloof, Alheit Wines, Beaumont, Luddite, Wine Connected, Villion Wines, etc. He has learned from the best in the industry, and his role models are Professor Eben Archer and Dr Wessel du Toit from the University of Stellenbosch. He also has great admiration for Beyers Truter, Francois Naude, David Biggs, Duimpie Bailey and Sue van Wyk for their contribution to the industry.
Working on various farms, ranging from warmer to cooler regions, has given him the benefit of a greater cultivar insight. His philosophy is simple: to treat everything as your own and look after it in the same way. For him, the most challenging part when it comes to farming is the unforeseen, and the fact that nothing is certain. We are working in one of the most challenging countries, and in one of the most interesting industries, where the rest of the world are spectators following our performance. We are achieving excellent results in our local winemaking industry that contributes 3.9% of the world’s wine production. Unfortunately, as South Africans, we tend to not give ourselves enough credit in terms of what we do and how much we contribute to this industry, as well as the outstanding results we are showing the rest of the world.
In simple terms, Braam's role at Wildekrans can be described as getting the balance just right, meaning that the balance when looking at production, planning, forecasts, HR, markets and then needing to make adaptations when things happen that have not been planned for. He feels that he is like the chameleon that goes to his friend’s party, only to realise, on arrival, that his friend has in fact invited the whole animal kingdom. He has to adapt and implement best practices in order to create a product that shows the true character of Wildekrans Estate.
One of his best achievements was to be selected as a finalist for two years in a row at the Agri Western Cape Young Farmer of the Year competition. His biggest achievement is to be part of this team working for Wildekrans Wine Estate. This is not only a job, but a dream for any viticulturist and with hard work has paid some dividends over the last few years (locally and internationally). He says he cannot describe this feeling… except to say that it is awesome!