Intellego Wines started off in 2009 with funds from winemaker/founder, Jurgen Gouws’ Russian harvest trip supplemented by the sale of secondhand barrels. Intellego translates to “understand” in Latin and is aptly named, as Jurgen is just beginning to understand the extent of the potential of this incredible region. Gouws is one of Swartland’s young guns, a laidback guy with a surfer’s tan and a wry smile. He does not currently own a vineyard or cellar of his own, but has developed his own brand Intellego while working at Lammershoek with Craig “El Bandito” Hawkins. His wall of old barrels in the rented space at Annexkloof bears the names of favorite musicians, DJs, and other things he loves.
Jurgen notes that “Craig was one of the first to start making fresher wines, from around 2010” and Jurgen has a range of techniques up his sleeve to achieve these styles. His preference is for bush vine Chenin (“there’s no competition with trellised vines – the fruit intensity is really exciting”), and a strict adherence to organic farming without irrigation. Whole bunch fermentation is key to preserving freshness during vinification, especially for red grapes.
Intellego doesn’t exist in a vacuum – Jurgen is part of a new wave of Cape winemakers all moving in a similar direction. Common themes are organic or biodynamic farming, minimal intervention in the cellar, and the desire to make pure, thirst-quenching wines. The grapes are sourced from different sites and he works closely with the farmers ensuring the fruit is expressive of this region. Jurgen has a particular affinity for some of the older Chenin Blanc bush vines in South Africa and is not afraid to push the boundaries of texture.
“As humans we strive towards an ideal life in order to fulfill our destiny and our everyday life is part of this exciting process. We are very fortunate to be part of this cycle through our work in vineyards and its continuity in the cellar. The final product in bottle is a true celebration of what happens in the vineyard.” – Jurgen Gouws