Francois qualified and then practised as a pharmacist for 18 years in his home town of Pretoria, before making the break to Stellenbosch and turning a passionate hobby into an extremely successful career. He first tried his hand at winemaking in 1991 and joined L’Avenir Estate in 1992.
This past chairman of Les Chevaliers du Tastevin de Pretoria (one of the first wine Guilds in South Africa) and self-taught winemaker has used his unerring instinct and skills as a pharmacist to take on the best winemakers in the world and has proved himself their equal.
He has earned many awards and collected an enthusiastic following at home and abroad, where he has excelled in competitions such as the Chardonnay du Monde and the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, from which he has brought home the Perold Trophy (for the best Pinotage in the world) three times.
L’Avenir Pinotage have also been a winner in the ABSA Top 10 Competition for a record 7 times.
Since his retirement he has become an honorary member (Keeper of the Key) of the prestigious Cape Wine Makers Guild , after 10 year’s active involvement where his wines made it to the “Auction” every year! He is also an honorary member of The Pinotage Association and was the Chairman of The Chenin Blanc Association’s “working group” for 2 years.
He is currently heading his own Wine consultancy business named “Winefix” with prestigious producers like Hartenberg; Delheim; Lanzerac; L’Avenir and Overgaauw as some of his clients.
In September 2008 he launched the family’s very exclusive, uniquely crafted wine called “Le Vin de Francois”