Sometimes you come across a young talent who you just know is destined for great things.
Alex McFarlane is one of those people.
When I did my research on her, I saw that she’d won the prestigious Dombeya scholarship as a student in Stellenbosch University in 2010.
Earning her a life-changing trip to Australia to make wine in the Barossa and Margaret River.
After speaking to her, clearly it wasn’t just her academic prowess that stood her out in college.
While most wine students go down the winemaking route (the glamorous part), Alex chose to major in viticulture.
It was a smart move. As the old saying in the business goes... ‘great wine starts in the vineyard’.
She went on to spend 6 years making wine and tending the vineyards for some of Stellenbosch’s top estates, gradually converting many of them to organic.
Alex decided to take the leap and start her own business with husband Wayne in 2018.
For her first wine, she chose a Chenin Blanc vineyard in the gorgeous Polkadraai hills in Stellenbosch. Where afternoon sea-breezes blow in and amplify the fruit character and freshness in the grapes.
Alex told me the grapes were picked on ‘the most spectacular Monday morning’ - it seemed like the perfect day to start her new adventure. So she called the wine Monday’s Child, after the old nursery rhyme.
But there were clouds on the horizon.
A week after launching the first vintage of Monday’s Child - Covid hit.
South Africa’s lockdown was brutal - they closed restaurants for 9 months and even banned exports at one stage.
Alex lost a year of traction and sales - a nightmare for any young business starting out.
That turned out to be a blessing in disguise for WineSpark, because she wouldn’t have had any wine by the time we were introduced.
One of the amazing things about WineSpark is being able to go out and land emerging talent like Alex, knowing that you’ll back the quality, no matter what.
The wines have finished their long journey from Stellenbosch, and I could not be more excited to get them into your glass.