Featured Discoverer: William Everson

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Featured Discoverer: William Everson
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Featured Discoverer: William Everson
Get In Touch
William’s story
I am a ‘Garagiste’ wine-maker, a French term for making wine in a small place (like a garage). I studied at Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch because I’ve always had a fascination with the creative process of making wine.

What is a ‘Garagiste’?
The term Garagiste originally refers to a group of innovative winemakers in the Bordeaux region, producing 
"Vins du garage" or "Garage wine". In a nutshell, we make wine in a small place. There is an unwritten rule that as a Garagiste producer you can’t make more than a certain amount. The association is run by Tanya Beutler, and until now, the stipulations have been that producers make a maximum of 9 000l of wine – she says “the amount of wine you could make in a double garage”.

This group emerged in the mid 1990s in reaction to the traditional
style of red Bordeaux wine, which is highly tannic and requires long ageing in the bottle to become drinkable. The Garagistes developed a style more consistent with perceived international wine tastes. For red wines, this means bigger, bolder, fruitier wines, often with sometimes a higher alcohol content. 
For white wines, the new style is a more pronounced oak taste with some residual sugar. 
Characterised as "winemaker's wine whose attributes reflect a disregard for the traditional handling of its particular terroir", the term is sometimes used somewhat as a backhanded compliment!

What inspired you to get into wine making?
No one in my family is in wine, but for as long as I can remember I’ve had an interest in the subject. I enjoy the culture, I enjoy drinking wine, manufacturing it, and I really enjoy the creative process and seeing something come to fruition. A lot of my friends studied the same thing, so I’m surrounded by a community of people who are interested in and passionate about wine.

The Western Cape inspires me daily. It’s the biggest area for planting and being successful with wine in the country. It’s engrained in the culture here, people like to sit outside in the sunshine, or by the fire in winter and drink wine. Local flavours inspire us too and we are experimenting with Rooibos on the cider side. Our craft ciders (Everson ciders) include pear, fresh cloudy apples and it’s great to know that the apples are planted right here in the Elgin Valley. When I moved here a couple of years ago, I made friends with a local farmer who made cider and I developed my passion from there.
I have a big love for craft made goods. I gravitate to a more hands-on approach where I can be part of the process and hold a bottle in my hand at the end. What’s currently fermenting? A blended 2008 Shiraz/Mourverdre and a 2009 Chardonnay from Elgin.