Johan Gerber has been appointed head manager at Org de Rac, the organic wine farm situated in the Swartland outside Piketberg which was founded by the late Nico Bacon in 2000. Gerber, who since 2016 was production manager and later winemaking manager at Origin Wine, has vast working experience at wineries in South Africa, as well as in California and Australia.
“The enormous potential of Org de Rac, one of the oldest organic wineries in the Cape, attracted me to take-up this challenging post,” says Gerber, who will be working alongside Org de Rac’s long-time winemaker Frank Meaker.
“Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to be exposed to the trends and demands in various international wine markets. The growth of organic wines is exponential and on the increase. There is no doubt in my mind that the growth in this sector is about spill over into the South African market. It is my aim, thus, to ensure Org de Rac is in the right position to emerge as one of the Cape’s leading organic wineries. The unique Swartland terroir whereon our farm is situated and the wine quality ensures the building-blocks are there to unlock this incredible potential to the full.”
A Bachelor of Agriculture graduate from Elsenburg in Stellenbosch, Gerber also worked at Leeuwenkuil, Rooiberg Winery in Robertson and the Bergkelder.
He also held winemaking positions at Clos du Bois in the Alexander Valley, California and Chateaux Montelena in the Napa Valley. In Australia, Gerber co-ordinated cellar operations at d’Arenberg Winery in South Australia.
According to Jacques Hartzenberg, co-owner of Org de Rac, Gerber is the ideal person to lead Org de Rac’s operations during this time of both opportunities and challenges in the wine industry.
“The tumultuous year that was 2020 caused everyone to press the ‘reset’ button and re-look their wine businesses with an eye of grasping the potential which is rife in the local and global wine markets,” he says. “Johan’s international and local experience at wineries of scale and his exposure to the vagaries of the wine markets world-wide made him the ideal candidate to take Org de Rac onto a new path and into a new chapter.”