Rudi Schultz, Thelema Mountain Vineyards

Rudi Schultz

Rudi Schultz was smitten with wine from an early age, but it was a yachting journey from the Cape to North Carolina via the Caribbean that got him hooked on the winemaking profession. During his seven month adventure on the seas, Schultz had the opportunity to taste a number of top notch Côte-Roties and Châteauneuf-du-Papes, as the yacht’s owner was an avid collector of Rhône bottlings. This rst encounter with world-class wines had a profound in uence on him, prompting a desire to craft wines of the same caliber and style from his native land.

I believe in keeping all production interventions to a minimum, allow the individual vineyard sites to express their identities.

After earning a degree in oenology and viticulture at Elsenberg College of Agriculture in Stellenbosch, Schultz gained valuable practical experience during a harvest at Sonoma- Cutrer in the mid-1990s. He returned to the Cape with an understanding of cutting edge scienti c and technological practices in winemaking, advances that South Africa had not yet discovered at that time. Schultz worked stints at several wine farms before being named winemaker at the prestigious Thelema Mountain Vineyards in 2001. Since then, he has been crafting world-class wines under the ever-watchful eye of Cape wine legend Gyles Webb.

In 2002, Schultz traveled to France for the rst time to visit the producers he aspired to emulate. He completed a harvest at Château-du-Joanny in the Southern Rhône, where he worked with Grenache, Syrah and Viognier. It was there that he became inspired to create his eponymous wine, and Syrah was naturally the varietal of choice.

Grapes for the dazzling Rudi Schultz Syrah are sourced from a single vineyard site in the Bottelary Hills ward of Stellenbosch. The vineyard is located 16 miles from the ocean, at an elevation of 348 feet. The soil is a well granite-based “duplex” form, consisting of coarse sand on a gravel base, with a small percentage of wet clay.

The hand-crafted wine is vini ed at Thelema. Hailed as a “small production gem” and a “delicious fruit-driven Syrah” that “maintain[s] a sense of freshness and minerality,” Rudi Schultz Syrah has earned a 90+ Wine Spectator rave in every vintage since its 2002 debut.

The unicorn depicted on the label is part of the coat of arms of Schultz’s wife’s family.

Winemaking runs in the Schultz family, as Rudi’s older brother Carl and younger brother Gunther are also talented winemakers. When not crafting his award-winning, critically acclaimed wines, Schultz enjoys competitive mountain biking, paddling and surfing.