WATCH | From prescription glasses to pinotage: woman changes focus from optometry to winemaking

10 August 2020 - 08:00
By Anthony Molyneaux

Maryke Botha inspects the neat lines of vineyards at Eikendal winery outside Stellenbosch. She is the new winemaker at the established farm and has already produced an award-winning wine in her first year in charge.

Botha won a gold medal for the Eikendal Rosé 2020 — the first wine she released as full winemaker at the most recent Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge.  

But she was not always in the wine industry.

“I studied optometry in Pretoria and worked for two years before I decided to change to winemaking,” Botha said. “There’s something intriguing about wine — the fact that you can produce something like that from grapes.”

Covid-19 lockdown regulations have banned alcohol twice since March 27, hitting wine farms and alcohol producers hard.

“It’s been tough, we are now planting a new section and still need to employ our staff. We have all this wine but we can’t sell it!” she said.

TimesLIVE spent an afternoon with Botha to speak about transformation in the wine industry and how the alcohol ban has affected wine making.