Rüdger van Wyk grew up in George, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Encouraged by his brother who was in the wine industry, Rüdger embarked on a life-long love of wine and wine making that has taken him from harvests in Burgundy to the cellars of Kanonkop, from accolades such as Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year in 2018 to launching his own brand, Kara-Tara wines.
After graduating with a degree in oenology from Stellenbosch university in 2013, Rüdger was admitted into the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé programme, an internship that pairs aspiring winemakers with mentors in the field. Rüdger worked under Abrie Beeslaar at Kanonkop and later set out to gain more experience in producing white wines in cooler regions by joining Natida winery in Durbanville, known for it’s award winning Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
In 2015, after a life-changing experience at harvest in Burgundy, France, he went to work at Stark-Condé wines, in the Jonkershoek Valley region of Stellenbosch, as intern and assistant winemaker under Jose Condé.
Today, Rüdger is head winemaker at Stark-Condé and continues to receive acclaim for his work. Most recently, he launched his signature wine brand, Kara-Tara, as a joint venture with José Conde. A tribute to his roots in the Western Cape, “Kara-Tara” refers to the Karatara river and it’s namesake town, situated between Knysna and George. Translated from the Khoisan, Karatara means “deep dark shadows”, the perfect allusion to the seductive, layered notes that are the hallmark of his celebrated Kara-Tara Pinot Noir & Pinot Noir Reserve.