Riana van der Merwe – Winemaker, Marketing and Sales
Riana was born in Paarl, South Africa on the 3rd February 1984. After attending Stellenbosch High School from 1997 to 2002 she then attended the University of Stellenbosch, graduating with a Batchelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in Viticulture and Oenology, in 2006. She has experience in South African cellars L’Ormarins, Seidelberg, Hidden Valley and Backsberg and a season at Stonestreet Winery, California in 2007 and Domaine Francois Villard, Northern Rhone, France in 2008 and Adelshein Vineyard in Oregon in 2010. Riana came to Seven Springs highly recommended by Guillaume Nell, a friend of Tim and Vaughan, then winemaker at Backsberg Wine Cellars in Paarl. One of Riana’s referees, Louis Nel, winemaker at Hidden Valley Wines, sums up this talented young lady by saying – “In this time Riana has proven herself to be a remarkable employee. She is extremely passionate about winemaking, hard working, uses her own initiative to keep busy and adds maximum value to the cellar at all times. She is very dependable and trustworthy and is a great asset to the company“. High praise indeed from a highly respected winemaker. Riana will prove to be an invaluable asset to Seven Springs Vineyard.
Tim Pearson – Sales & Marketing
Tim was born in the village of Crowland, Lincolnshire, England on the 11th of October 1953. After leaving school Tim started working for Boots Farm Sales in the agricultural business. Working his way up to an Agronomist, Tim moved to Stratford upon Avon to work in 1977. He met Vaughan on the 18th of October 1979 and the couple married one year to the day later on October the 18th 1980. After having 2 daughters, Kim born January 1984 and Katie born August 1986, Tim decided, in 1988, to join with a couple of friends to build a 5 star hotel in Mauritius, where the Pearson family lived for 6 months. After failing to obtain funding for the project (it was so close to being a success) Tim took a job as a Sales and Marketing Manager for a cleaning firm in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire in 1991. After 2 years Tim decided to start his own cleaning company, Goldcrest Cleaning Ltd, in October 1993, the company moving to its own premises in Warwick in July 2000. It is the success of Goldcrest Cleaning that has enabled Tim to indulge in his real passion, wine, with the setting up of Seven Springs Vineyard.
Luis ‘Pepe’ Vinhas – Architect
Pepe was born in Mozambique in 1966, where his parents were involved in the hotel industry. After moving to South Africa as a youngster he completed architectural studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990 under the teachings of Pancho Guedes and Peter Rich. He worked for the practice of Luis Ferreira da Silva before setting out on his own in 1993. Pepe concentrated mainly on residential building design at first doing private homes in game reserves for the likes of John Halamandares. His most notable achievement to date is a renovation project at Ulusaba Game Lodge for Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group at Sabi Sands, building an observatory in the middle of the bush with a plan based on an African mask. A successful project in the Serengeti was undertaken in association with TEAM Architects of Cape Town and he also designed and built a house for the acclaimed Swedish author Henning Mankell in Maputo. Other projects include various hotels and lodges in Angola and Mozambique for the Ritz Group and Group Indico (Maputo based) . Pepe has also been asked by Bruce Mackenzie and Emmanuel Petrakakis, members of the Mars Foundation, (www.MarsHome.org) to design housing projects for the planet for habitation.Pepe is a very good friend of Vaughan and Tim and this is his first winery project.
Peter Davison – Vineyard Manager
Peter was born in South Africa on the 25th July 1974 and went to school at the Diocesan College in Cape Town matriculating in 1992. He then studied horticulture and economics at Stellenbosch University graduating with a Bsc in Agriculture in 1997. Peter managed his family’s apple and citrus farm, situated between Hermanus and Caledon in the Western Cape, from 1999 to 2002. Since 2003 Peter has concentrated on vineyard management within the Hemel en Aarde Valley for various wine farming operations. Since 2006 Peter has managed Seven Springs Vineyard land from bare earth to planting, growing and looking after the vineyard. Happily married to Karen, the couple live in the Hemel en Aarde Valley with dogs Truffles and Misty. Peter enjoys diving (for crayfish and spear fishing), boating, fishing, surfing, shooting, hiking and gardening.
Vaughan Pearson – Sales, Marketing and Accounts
Vaughan was born in Stratford upon Avon, England, and attended Stratford upon Avon Grammar School for Girls, later qualifying as a Speech Therapist in Cardiff. She married Tim in 1980 and, following the birth of their two daughters, Kim and Katie, the family moved to Mauritius for 6 months in 1988. On returning to the UK Vaughan took on a sales job for Astra Pharmaceuticals in 1990 and enjoyed a high degree of success, specialising in respiratory disease. In 1992 Vaughan left Astra Pharmaceuticals to work with Greta Barnes at the Asthma Training Centre in Stratford upon Avon where she worked until 2006. Vaughan and Tim have jointly set up Seven Springs Vineyard whilst Vaughan continues to work 3 days a week for the UK charity Riding for the Disabled Association, focusing on professional relations and corporate fundraising.