Sybrand De Klerk
I am the farming Operations Manager for the Costa Grape Category.
I've been in the industry since 1999, and joined the Costa Group in 2008 as Farm Manager. I started at Costa Grapes, representing table grape farms in Euston and Kenley. For the past two years, I have been working as the Group's Farming Operations Manager based in St George, Queensland, where I oversee the day-to-day running of the Costa grape farms.
In my role, I am responsible for the profitability, strategic direction and overall control of table grape production in St George and Mundubbera.
I have always had a passion for grapes and citrus.
Growing up on a property, my love of growing grapes started early, and I can now watch all of my hard work pay off. Today, my proudest moments are when the end results meet or exceed expectations.
Even more, I get really excited when the grapes we grow turn out to be as plump, fresh and juicy as we imagined they would be – or even better – after all the efforts poured in throughout the growing season.
This job is perfect for me. I love the outdoors and farm environments, and I couldn't imagine working anywhere else.
Q&A with Sybrand
Did you always know that you wanted to be a grower?
No, I initially thought I'd become an engineer! I developed my current passion for grapes in high school when I started working on vineyards during school holidays.
What do you love most about growing?
Seeing the results – that is, premium quality fruit on the vines.
What do you love most about growing grapes?
The challenges I face every day in growing and managing our crops.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to enjoy grapes?
They taste the best straight out of the fridge when they are chilled.
What can you tell us about grapes that people may not know?
Once picked, grapes don't ripen any more. They need to reach a certain point of maturity on the vine before they are harvested. So, as soon as they're picked, they're ready to enjoy.
Why did you decide to become a grower?
I joined a family business, during which time I developed a love of the industry. It was then that my passion to grow grapes was developed.
Are there any other products you would like to grow someday?
Kiwi fruit and macadamia nuts.