John Seccombe is the legend behind Thorne and Daughters, which is based in Bot River, South Africa. Ask anyone who’s got a pulse on the South African wine industry today and they’ll tell you John Seccombe is one the greats. Tim Atkin named him a First Growth producer of South Africa, Jancis Robinson credits John with being “very much part of the new wave responsible for reigniting interest in South African wine”, and Tim James says, “You can’t really go wrong with Thorne & Daughters whites.”
All that’s to say that John is a fantastic winemaker. In today’s episode, you’ll hear that he’s also a really likeable guy who had to put in a lot of sweat equity to get where he is today. It wasn’t a walk in the park; John wasn’t mentored by any of the industry greats. And with a winemaking degree from a university in England, people didn’t really take him all that seriously when he come back to the Cape after 9 years of living in the UK. In the beginning, John was working harvests and helping his wife, Tasha, with her wedding photgraphy gigs, but that didn’t last long… he was quickly fired for spending too much time “shitting on the clients.”
But slowly, John was granted space for a few barrels in the corner of Chris Alheit’s cellar, and from there, he was off to the races. In this episode, you’ll hear how John came to be known for his textural whites, and how he learned to embrace a model for winemaking that fit his terroir (read: not trying to be a copy/paste version of Bordeaux or Burgundy). You’ll also hear John’s take on why getting South African wine to be mainstream in the US is still an uphill battle, as well as his adoration for Japan and, yes, McDonalds…
Hosted by Charlotte Alsaadi.
Special thanks to SNACKTIME for the music!