SA’s wine maker Nederburg hands over its cellar’s keys to Samuel Viljoen

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s leading and most celebrated wineries, Nederburg has announced the appointment of Samuel Viljoen as its new cellar-master.

The seasoned wine maker takes over the reins from Lizelle Gerber, who has left to pursue other interests.

In his new role, Viljoen will oversees the production of the Paarl cellar’s multi-tiered range, distributed across more than 80 countries worldwide.

Prior to the appointment, he was a fully-fledged winemaker at the company and has been part of the legendary winery boosting of over 200 years of existence, since 2007.

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“Samuel’s winemaking prowess is well recognised, enhanced by an extraordinary discipline, strong analytical and intuitive skills, and matched by his ability to focus both on detail and the bigger picture.

“That is why he is equally at home making exclusive, specialist micro-edition wines and those for more popular enjoyment. A leader and a team player, he is a great asset to our recently upgraded and expanded cellar,” Nederburg’s managing director, Niël Groenewald said.

Before joining Nederburg, the Stellenbosch University viticulture and oenology graduate worked in both boutique and larger-scale wineries.

These included the highly acclaimed American cellar Domaine Serene in Willamette Valley, dubbed the ‘Chateau Lafite of Oregon’, as well as the large-volume Goudini Winery in Rawsonville with its accent on mainstream markets, Klein Constantia, Fairview and Longridge.

“Samuel’s winemaking prowess is well recognised, enhanced by an extraordinary discipline, strong analytical and intuitive skills, and matched by his ability to focus both on detail and the bigger picture.”

Nederburg’s Managing Director – Niël Groenewald

Viljoen attributes his expertise particularly to his working experience in Oregon, now regarded as a source of some of the top US wines.

“My obsession with detail probably springs from those days in Oregon, where every tiny barrel of wine was treated as something truly precious, but then so was every larger tank. Big or small, everything was regarded as important and that emphasis has never left me,” Viljoen explains.

Viljoen, notes that what he loves most is that fact that his work contributes to some of the most meaningful moments in other people’s lives.

“It gives me such a great feeling when wine lovers tell me about the Nederburg wine they served to announce an engagement, to toast a birthday, to honour old friends or new ones, to celebrate a new job or a rite of passage. I feel proud and humbled at the same time,” he glees.

He also enjoys the countervailing forces of working in wine, now as a cellar-master.

“You have to be very analytical but also learn to trust your intuition and your taste buds. You need structure but flexibility to work with as many as 23 different varieties at any given time.

“You must be able to enjoy making minute quantities of special collectible wines and on the same day, switch to making popular wines for global markets, and you must feel at home creating classical but also original, very different wines.”

Nederburg’s story started in 1791 in the Paarl Valley and until to date it produces premium wines enjoyed across the globe.

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