Ryan grew up in Zimbabwe with a family focused in agriculture. A chance visit to Switzerland in 2006 introduced him to the world of fine wine through the eyes of a wine buyer for a shop in Basel. Seeing Ryan’s passion, he encouraged Ryan to pursue a winemaking and cellar master’s diploma course in the town of Nizza Monferrato, in Piemonte, Northern Italy. After 2 years of study, field work and tasting across Italy, Ryan came to visit South Africa with his fiance and fell in love with the winelands of the Cape. In 2009 with nothing but backpacks the two decided to move to South Africa and throw themselves into the South African wine world. After a further year of study at the Stellenbosch University, Ryan was offered an internship at Reyneke Wines in Stellenbosch, an opportunity he jumped at. An internship became an assistant winemaking job and under the guidance of fellow Old Vine Project member Johan Reyneke and Rudiger Gretschel, Ryan learnt about biodynamic and organic winemaking and especially working with his two favourite cultivars: Chenin blanc and Syrah. After 4 years at Reyneke, in 2014, Ryan and fellow wine-geek Michael Roets joined forces to establish the winery Avant Garde Wines, of which the Silwervis forms an important role of focusing on old vine, single vineyard blocks on the Paardeberg, Swartland.