After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University in 2007, Adriaan started his career in the South African wine industry, working first as Assistant Winemaker and then as Winemaker at two mid-sized cooperative wineries. It was also during this time that he met the love of his life and partner-in-wine, Lara, and they got married in 2010.
Being travellers at heart, the pair had a mutual desire to experience more of the wide world of wine, and also live out their dream of making more than just mediocre wine. This seemed like something unattainable, until, in 2013, they met the extraordinary couple that is Ronnie and Janet Vehorn: expat Americans living in the rural Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It was a similar passion that led Ronnie to plant the first certified vineyard in a part of the country 700 kilometres removed from the nearest established commercial vineyards, and their infectious pioneering spirit inspired Lara and Adriaan to dream big.
Around the same time, Adriaan was afforded the opportunity to work a vintage at world famous Napa Valley winery Screaming Eagle Vineyards.
With little in the way of a longer term plan, the couple decided to trust Fate, with Adriaan giving up his permanent job and Lara remaining in South Africa to hold down the fort and pay the bills. After four emotionally taxing months apart, Adriaan returned to South Africa having gained invaluable experience and a sense of what being the best in the wine world entails. After discussing all of this with Lara, it was decided: the travelling would continue, with Lara joining the fun this time around!
After a stint working with some of Australia’s most exceptional and highest elevation Chardonnay vineyards in 2014 alongside renowned father and son team Philip and Daniel Shaw at Philip Shaw Wines in the Orange region of New South Wales, Adriaan was invited back to the Napa Valley to join another well known father and son team: Randy and Mike Dunn of Dunn Vineyards.
While working alongside these legends, Adriaan and Lara started dreaming about their own wine legacy. 2015 brought this idea to fruition, and the maiden vintage of Hand of Fate Wines commenced, with two tons of Chardonnay being sourced from exceptional vineyards in the renowned South African wine regions of Stellenbosch and Robertson. Adriaan’s wine journey had come full circle, and these grapes were vinified in the same winery where he started his journey into wine at Stellenbosch University.
In March 2015 Adriaan and Lara embarked on the next leg of their wine journey, this time working with some of the world’s southernmost vineyards at the pioneering Gibbston Valley Wines in the Central Otago region of New Zealand. The winemaking team at GVW confirm the adage that “happy people make great wines” and after a memorable vintage, a bittersweet departure to the Napa Valley followed.
Back at Dunn Vineyards, Mike encouraged the couple to make Hand of Fate Wines a truly international endeavour by also sourcing grapes from the Napa Valley. After an extensive search, the couple found the perfect vineyard in the Los Carneros Appellation. Just over a ton of grapes were sourced from this vineyard and the grapes were vinified at the Dunn facility.
Release of the maiden vintage of both the “Western Cape Appellation” Chardonnay and the “Napa Valley Appelation” Chardonnay is expected in September 2016.
Adriaan is now also the consulting winemaker at KRSMA Estates in Hampi Hills, India where he leads the team in crafting India’s most prestigious wine.