De Grendel wine making is a delicate balance of science and art.
The meticulous care of the vineyards allows the grapes to express the environment in which they are grown and their distinctive varietal character. The careful harvesting, and gentle handling in the cellar, combined with the passionate practice of their craft by the winemaker, carry the wines all the way from fruit to wine.
The state of the art winery is respectful of the age-old traditions of winemaking, but firmly and without modern compromise in technological progress, a perfect marriage of the old and the new.
Charles Hopkins has been at De Grendel since the very beginning of winemaking on the Durbanville farm in 2005, when Sir David Graaff lured him away from Graham Beck with an irresistible offer to head up winemaking, and to design and build his own cellar. Charles is a lifelong student of wine and even after 30 years’ experience in the industry and multiple local and international accolades, he remains always curious to learn more about his winemaking journey.
In November 2019, he achieved a major milestone on this journey, with the award of his first five-star rating in the Platter’s South African Wine Guide, for the 2017 Elim Shiraz from De Grendel – a wine that is especially close to his heart.
Charles was born in Somerset West and grew up in Bredasdorp and Strand. He did his national army service after finishing school and then studied winemaking at Elsenburg before joining the old Union Wines, now DGB, and then Graham Beck. He is passionate about the process of making wine and finds the impact of soil, climate and viticulture practices on the end product especially fascinating. His other passion is helping young winemakers on their own journeys, and he has mentored more Cape Winemakers’ Guild protégés than any other Guild member.
Charles has been involved in all facets of winemaking in South Africa and has extended his learning by working two vintages overseas, one in France and one in California, as well as regular study tours to other winemaking countries. He has served the industry as a board member of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild and various producer associations such as the Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage Associations. His wines have achieved gold and double gold, and scores of 95 and more, in local and international competitions and wine ratings.