Meet the winemaker - Craig Hawkins

Craig Hawkins is a young winemaker who has travelled extensively in Europe and worked in Portugal and Austria. He makes eight wines under his own Testalonga label and three under the label Baby Bandito. These are beautiful natural hand-crafted wines from low yielding vines, wild ferments and nothing added except a little SO2 at bottling. 

What made you want to be a winemaker? 

I was working for my brother in his vineyards and then it hit me. I took a few years off playing hockey overseas, and on a trip to Greece with some friends of mine after many a beer, I made my decision.  

How many years have you been making wine?


If you hadn’t become a winemaker, what would be your dream job? 

To be a game ranger!

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 

Finding the balance between knowing when to do something and when to do nothing. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Finding that balance.

Is there one person who has influenced your style of winemaking more than anyone else? 

Tom Lubbe of Matassa.

What do you do in your free time? 

Play cricket, golf or go somewhere and braai (grill (meat) over an open fire).

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during your winemaking career? 

Respect nature but don’t let it over run you. 

Other than wine, what’s your favourite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)? 

Sparkling water from our mountain.

If you were a grape variety what would you be and why? 

I would be Grenache but with white spots of Chenin all over.

If you could have a dinner party with any 4 people (dead or alive) who would you pick and why?

At my last dinner party I'd invite: Jesus, Richard Dawkins and Karl Marx, which is an interesting mix (water into wine, Dawkins questioning that, and Karl Marx being the mediator).

Want to hear more from Craig? Check out his chat with the Real Wine Fair from last year...

If you wish to sample the fantastic wines by Craig Hawkins please contact us directly: [email protected]/ +44 (0)1483 554750