A native of South Africa, Deon spent his early years in Johannesburg and his formative, often rebellious years in the wind-swept, seaside city of Cape Town. An avid sailor, Motocross racer and vintage car rally eventer, Deon's adventurous spirit stayed with him through his conscripted army service in the 1980's. Among his many antics, he once went AWOL for a 'jol' then broke back in to the base disguised as a visitor.
Deon left South Africa during apartheid and traveled extensively, living in Egypt, Israel, England and the U.S. He met his future wife Max while living in New York in the 1990’s. He and business partner Andrew Edlin ran Seiren Studios and Edlin Fine Art out of a 5,000 square foot loft in west Chelsea they shared with Max, a partner and Director of strategy at New York Television/ NY Digital Design. Deon and Max traveled frequently to her family’s vineyard and winery, Grayhaven, in Virginia, where they would eventually settle and take over the family business after 9/11.
Ever gracious and well armed with tales of worldly adventure and mud-covered farm life - Deon puts his ingenuity, good humor and South African accent to work daily at the winery. Nicknamed “MacGyver” by local Virginia farmers, Deon is nearly as well known for his uncanny engineering abilities as he is for his quick wit and irreverent sense of humor. The South African Food & Wine Festival is a testament to his passion for connecting people through shared values and mutual interests in wine, music, art, culinary traditions and, of course, a good story well told.