South Africa


Episode 23 – Franco Lourens (Part 1)

Stories from the Cellar cover art
Stories From the Cellar
Episode 23 - Franco Lourens (Part 1)

This episode is an interview with Franco Lourens of Lourens Family Wines based in Paarl, South Africa. The word ‘family’ is found in the name of many wine projects, but few actually put their family at the center of their branding. Franco’s wines are not only named after members of his family, but their faces also adorn the labels. His red blend, ‘Howard John,’ is named after his dad, the white blend ‘Lindi Carien’ after his wife, and the coveted varietal Grenache after his daughter, Lua Ilse.

Working mostly with old-vines, Franco has become masterful at the intricacies of blending to craft quietly confident wines, an acumen that has earned him a deserved place among South Africa’s best new-wave producers. Franco originally started his own label while working as the assistant winemaker at Alheit Vineyards in Hemel-en-Aarde, but since 2020, Franco has been back in Paarl sharing cellar space with Lukas from Van Loggerenberg Wines.

In this episode, which is part 1 of 2, Franco shares his background and reveals what – or rather – who kept him from quitting the wine business when he felt he was hitting a plateau. In part 2, you’ll hear how needing some extra cash for an engagement ring prompted Franco to start his own label, as well as the stories behind many of his wines.

For Franco, becoming a winemaker was never a given, as wine wasn’t a big part of his parents’ lives. But when you grow up in a viticultural paradise, it’s easy for wine culture to seep in through osmosis…


Hosted by Charlotte Alsaadi.

Special thanks to SNACKTIME for the music!

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