The tale behind the name BLANKbottle is that when Pieter was starting out, he made a small parcel of Shiraz and was left with a few unlabelled cases. One day, a woman wanted to buy a wine – “Anything but Shiraz,” she told him. Pieter shrugged and sold her the unlabelled Shiraz, neglecting to mention the variety. A few weeks later she returned demanding more, saying it was the best thing she’d ever drunk. For Pieter, it was a lesson on the gap between what people think they like (or dislike) and what they actually like (or dislike). After that, he decided not to list the varieties on his labels.
He's one of the most original winemakers we work with, with a far from orthodox journey into wine that's continued in everything he does with the BLANKbottle. He went to study winemaking at university when in his mid-twenties, already married and with a child, with his classmates fresh out of school. He's never worked for another winemaker in South Africa, and has built up his business from scratch on a wing and a prayer, with a whole lot of natural talent and an irrepressible thirst for the exciting and the unconventional.
Not owning any vineyards, like a Hunter S Thompson of South African winemaking, Pieter scours the Cape Winelands for exciting sites, clocking up thousands of miles each harvest driving to pick from vineyards hours away from his cellar, from Ceres to Stellenbosch, and just about every grape variety you've heard of, Chardonnay to Chenin, Viognier to Verdelho. In any given year, he makes around 30 different cuvees, all with an often amusing or brilliant story behind the name too. A number of wines are only ever produced as once offs, and in true Walser style, he designs all the labels himself too.