I am a Horticulturist with a BSc Agric degree in Plant breeding and Horticulture from the University of Stellenbosch and I am a farmer on an olive, citrus and essential oils farm in Franschhoek, Western Cape.

After finishing my degree at the university, I spent a year in Holland where I worked as a plant breeder for Preesman Holland. My very first assignment at the company was to judge new flower varieties, of which one was roses based on the scents and perfumes of the flowers. It was there that I learnt how to apply my olfactory skills in judging. When you judge fragrances you need to build your memory with different aromas to start with. The only way to do this is by smelling, remembering and building the aroma memory bank.

About a year ago I met Linda Costa, an expert in the olive industry and longstanding Savantes member. Linda invited me to participate in informal olive oil tastings where I learned the special skill of how to taste and rate the flavour and quality of extra virgin olive oil. If you happen to have a good aroma memory bank, it will work towards your advantage in judging. The past year inspired me to learn more, to explore extensively, appreciate abundantly so as to enjoy this wonderful product called extra virgin olive oil in all its facets including growing, harvesting, extracting and consuming.

I am passionate about the science behind growing plants and I am very fortunate to be part of this continuous learning cycle of producing good quality olive fruit and extra virgin olive oil. I participated in Savantes South Africa in the Cape in January 2018 where I achieved the grade required to obtain Associate Savantes status. It was a wonderful opportunity where I could taste some of the world’s best olive oils, as well as sharing experiences with other olive tasters. This is the beginning of my journey of exploration in the world of olive oil tasting. I can hardly wait for unique experiences on my voyage of unusual and exotic olive discoveries.