In Interview with a winemaker

Q:  Where do you originate from ?

“I was born in Pretoria.”

Q : How does someone from Pretoria get to be winemaker in the Cape?

“My Dad worked for a large company and was transferred to Somerset West.” She continued “Once the novelty of the ocean began to wane I realised the entire country was covered in grape vines. Then at school, Bloemhof in Stellenbosch. some of my friend’s parents were involved with making wine or growing grapes.” Then added, with great enthusium “ “My Dad often took me to wineries while he was buying wine. He often gave me taste and I enjoyed what I tasted.”

 Q :When you graduated where did you first work ? 

“Well I  did my first student vintage at  Flagstone. Then did another vintage there in 2007. Then I set out to travel the world ! I did a vintage at Coonawarra in Australia.  Then moved to the Northern hemisphere and did a vintage in Burgundy, In 2008 I worked a vintage at Vergelegen. Then back to New Zealand for a short stint. Then back north for a vintage at Chablis.

Q  When did you settle back in South Africa ? 

“I joined the Waterkloof team at the end of 2008 as assistant winemaker and was appointed winemaker for the 2013 vintage

Q   Do you consider your winemaking to be different to others ? 

“At Waterkloof we try and not interfere with nature in the winemaking but it is in the vineyard that we really differ. Winemaking is all about taking your time and getting to know your vineyards.

Q  Does having your vineyards certified fully biodynamic make a difference ?

“Of course it does. Our vineyards are chemically free and we make all our own compost using traditional biodynamic methods. This ensures healthy soil full of bacteria and oxygen  and as a result a perfectly balanced vineyard ideal for the production of the best grapes”

Q   And what about the Percherons ?

“I must say they are an added attraction and serve a purpose in the narrowly planted old vines”

Q  You mention old vines , you have been making a wine from 40 year old cinsaut ?

“Yes , and it has turned out particularly well. It was given four and a half stars in Platter ! Described as having ripe blackberry notes, dark cherry and plum.”

Q  With the mention of old vines then there is you at the tender young age of 30 in charge ? 

a somewhat bashful reply, “I accept I carry a great responsibility but the entire team at Waterkloof are dedicated to producing the best.”

Q  What do you consider  your greatest achievement as a winemaker ?

“Bottling my first Waterkloof Sauvignon blanc”

Q  Have you developed anything “secret” that makes your winemaking different any others ?

“No, not really. Leading up to vintage I go back to tasting the grapes all the time”

Q   How important is modern winemaking equipment ? 

“Not very. Although the winery building is strikingly modern the winemaking is pretty conventional. We do have a new Coquard press which is based on the traditional basket press.”

Q  If Nadia is not in vineyard or cellar where is she most likely to be ?

“With the winery situated high up in the Schapenberg you would probably find me powering along a trail in the mountains on my mountain bike !

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