Meet Our Cellar Master Martin Moore

A winery as imposing as Durbanville Hills was always going to need a cellar master with matching personality and skill. Martin Moore was that person, appointed in 1998 while the cellar was still under construction

Martin was attracted to winemaking whilst growing up in Worcester, spending many a weekend on a farm – attentively watching vineyards coming into production and wine being produced at a small winery.

Martin studied viticulture and winemaking at university, where he also developed a love for cooking. At university, rugby practice was often the cause of he and his roommate missing supper. Not in the mood for cold left-overs, they would lock themselves in their room to cook on a two-plate stove he still owns. Accompanying wine could be consumed on the say-so of a lecturer from whom they had a letter pointing out – in case they were caught – its relevance to their winemaking curriculum.

He expanded his knowledge of white wines under the tutelage of KWV’s Willie Hacker, leaving for a spell at Robertson. When he returned to the Paarl winery, he eventually succeeded Willie upon his retirement. At the age of 27, Martin became senior cellar master in charge of the KWV’s white, red, fortified and sherry cellars.

A change of pace arrived for Martin when he departed KWV in early 1991 to join the historic winery of Groot Constantia where he spent close on eight years. The volumes produced were in sharp contrast to that which he was accustomed at KWV.

By the end of 1997, he was ready for new challenges when the opportunity at Distell’s hillside winery was approaching completion.

Today, he is an ambassador for the unique location of Durbanville Hills and its influence on the wines. “Wines are made in the vineyard,” he declares.