Hi, I am Graham Williams
Welcome to the home of Thorngrove Wines.
I can still clearly recall the first bottle of wine I drank which was in London, back in ‘86 – it was a Robert Mondavi ’84 Reserve from California – and from the first sip, I just knew wine was going to be a part of my life. I just couldn’t have imagined then, that my dream would have turned into reality.
The call of the winemaking country was strong and when I arrived in South Africa from the UK in ‘96 to continue (what turned out to be) a 32-year career in the food and wine industry, little did I know that I would ultimately take the step to fulfil my dreams, even if by accident.
So, in 2013 myself and a couple of friends decided we would go to Stellenbosch Uni to do a short winemaking course (with the intention of actually making cider!) but afterwards, one pal decided “it wasn’t going to work” and the other declared “it was too much like hard work!” (Charles then went on to create the amazing Six Dogs Gin brand. Excuse me, but what was that about “hard work”?)
Not wanting to be left out I decided that since I had now gained enough basic knowledge, I would have a go at making wine! From there it has been an amazing journey involving trial and error, countless questions to winemakers (and anyone else willing to give advice, of whom there are too many to mention) and of course then inflicting the resulting potion on friends and family to test their feedback, only to refine the wine for the following year.
What started out as 50L of Shiraz for fun has grown into 5,000L of a small, focused range of wines that my friends, family and I all love to drink. The volumes are kept small to allow sufficient focus on each one, to maximise the quality produced.
Along the way, many legends of the winemaking world have, and continue to inspire and motivate me, including the legendary (late) Allan Mullins, Bertus Fourie and Andy Barns, to all of whom I am both grateful and indebted.
Incredibly, the motivation has been such that I now find myself making the wines end to end, from working with the farmers from whom I source the grapes, through every step of the way right through to selling the wines here on this website. Since ‘13 I have built great relationships with amazing farmers and worked with them to procure the highest quality grapes.
I have also finally moved out of my garage, and into a fully accredited and sustainable custom cellar in Riebeek Kasteel where more attention to the details that matter can now be afforded to the wines that I make.
For me, winemaking (although sounding clichéd) is about Art and Science, or Passion and Precision. There are many things that one can try and control through the winemaking process, but ultimately it is Mother Nature who determines the outcome, so I do what I do with great passion and where needed, precision.
Thorngrove’s primary aim is to create beautiful and luscious wines with a clean, fruit-driven palate, complimented by the carefully judged use of the best quality oak.
The truth is in the bottle of course and so I invite you to taste what Mother Nature has delivered, with a little nurturing from me…
Cheers for now.