I was born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. I went to school there until I was in Grade 10, when we went to live in Boksburg on the East Rand, Gauteng, where I completed my schooling.
Growing up, the only liquor I knew about was beer. I knew nothing about wine and I definitely had never heard of winemaking as a career.
In fact, I only learned how to pronounce "oenology" when I was standing in line to register at Stellenbosch University! My mother applied for a bursary from the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) for me to study for a BSc in viticulture and oenology.
... my mom got a call. I answered, because she was driving but when she heard it was from DAFF she stopped the car on the side of the highway to talk to them. They were offering me a comprehensive bursary that covered my studies, books, food and accommodation. She talked, took down notes, asked questions and made the tough decision there and then to send me to Stellenbosch to study winemaking. My mom turned the car around and we headed back to the East Rand Mall to buy me bedding for res.
When we got home my mom and I googled "winemaking" to find out what it was all about. I still wasn't sure what I was going to be studying! My mom was more concerned than I was.
She assured me that if I didn't like it, I could get a job and pay back the sponsors or graduate and study something else. I saw it as a new experience, but had no idea of how much hard work was involved.