Intellego Wines started in 2009 using funds from winemaker/founder Jurgen Gouws’ Russian harvest trip and selling second-hand barrels, getting the project off its feet. Intellego translates “to understand” in Latin - aptly named, as Jurgen is just beginning to understand more about his chosen regions incredible potential. Gouws is one of Swartland’s young guns, a laidback guy with a surfer’s tan and a wry smile. He currently owns no vineyards and no cellar of his own - rather, he developed his own brand Intellego while working at Lammershoek with Craig ‘El Bandito’ Hawkins. Previously, he had also worked with Stephane Ogier in Côte-Rotie.
Gouws has a range of techniques up his sleeve to achieve the styles he is known for – his preference is for bush vine Chenin (“There’s no competition with trellised vines – The fruit intensity is stimulating”), and strict adherence to organic farming without irrigation. Whole bunch fermentation is his key to preserving freshness during vinification, especially for red grapes.
Intellego doesn’t exist in a vacuum – Jurgen is part of a new wave of Cape winemakers, all moving in a similar direction. Common themes are organic or biodynamic farming, minimal intervention in the cellar, and the desire to make pure, thirst-quenching wines that aren’t screaming for trophies or 100-point ratings.
The grapes come from different sites, and he works closely with the farmers ensuring the fruit is expressive of this region. Jurgen has a particular affinity for some of the older Chenin Blanc bush vines in South Africa, and is not afraid to push the boundaries of texture.
Intellego’s true passion is the real, hands-on work in the vineyard, understanding seasonal influences and adjusting based on constant observation of the terroir. A significant aim is to create optimal soil conditions through organic practices where the vines will be nurtured for an indefinite period, creating conditions for each block to have unique character. He and the farmers grow grapes in an environment beneficial to the flora in a Mediterranean-like climate.