Nederberg Wines, which lies at the foot of the Drakenstein Mountains, is steeped in heritage and tells the tale of many pioneering men and woman who shaped it, each in their own way.
There is no doubt that the South African wine industry enjoys a rich history. A meander through the winelands reveals gabled manor houses, stories of winemaking passed down through the years, trials, tribulations and successes of the highest acclaim – and none more so than at Nederburg Wines.
The name conjures up just that – a sense of history, of being a part of this wine family from the earliest days and there is something to be said for that – for stability, consistency and reliability. What you may not know is that Nederburg is in fact represented across the spectrum of wine drinking – not only is there a strong presence of constants such as Baronne or Foundation Rosé in its iconic shaped bottle, but there are also the easy drinking wines of the 56Hundred range, right through to pushing boundaries with the Ingenuity range. The number of wines produced at Nederburg is staggering and it is no wonder that it is South Africa’s most awarded wine. We found this out for ourselves on a recent visit to the estate…
The tasting room at Nederburg Wines includes some table seating, as well as a comfy lounge area centred around a roaring fireplace, making it ideal for a winter’s day out. To one side of the tasting room is a display of the estate’s history mapped out as a timeline of events. It takes visitors on a journey from the very beginning of the story in 1791, when the farm was purchased by Philippus Wolvaart for 5600 guilders (hence the name of the wine range) and was named after Sebastiaan Nederburgh, a visiting commissioner from the Dutch East India Company. Wolvaart was a pioneer in establishing the farm and its vineyards. The story of the farm is a long one and goes on to detail several changes of ownership and includes many of those aforementioned trials and tribulations. It continues on up to its final private ownership, when German-born Johann Georg Graue purchased it in 1937. Graue, a brew master and tea specialist moved his wife and son Arnold from Germany to the Cape to escape the impending Second World War. He brought with him techniques such as cold fermentation, borrowed from his background in brewing beer, as well as an abundance of passion and knowledge, which transformed winemaking at Nederburg. As with many great stories, this one is tinged with tragedy.
As our guide told us, guests who have visited the estate have recounted how as children, they saw the accident take place that fateful day over Youngsfield.
A heartbroken Graue did not have the capacity to carry on producing wine himself, but as a legacy to his son he felt it was something he had to do. He hired young maverick winemaker Günter Brözel from Germany and this move set Nederberg on a course that would map out its award-winning future.
Current winemaker Razvan Macici pays homage to Graue, his wife, son and several others who have been instrumental in paving its history with a range of beautifully designed wines in the Heritage Heroes collection. Each bottle tells its own story ¬– Wolfaart ‘The Anchorman’ who gave Nederberg its stable start, Arnold Graue ‘The Young Airhawk’ who died too young and Brözel ‘The Motorcycle Marvel’ who would traverse the vineyards on his 250cc BSA bike. To experience all of the stories and to taste the wines you’ll have to visit the estate yourself…
A day out to a wine estate would not be complete without a dining experience worth noting. At the Red Table Restaurant you can enjoy quality food with a spectacular view either outside on the patio or inside the original manor house. Outside tables dot the patio and find shade under established trees, looking out over the lawns and vineyards. Inside the original manor house, which is a national monument, tables are divided between the rooms of the house which are furnished with antiques and warmed by original fireplaces. Chef Edmond and his team will tempt you with dishes such as a warm duck and citrus salad, meltingly tender and cooked-to-perfection fillet, and a salted caramel centred dark chocolate fondant that will make you wish you had ordered two. Of course it makes sense to pair courses with Nederburg wines and your knowledgeable server can assist with this. This is a place to simply relax and enjoy good food in the company of family and friends.
The story of Nederburg is a story of the history of wine in the Cape. The farm, which lies at the foot of the Drakenstein Mountains, is steeped in heritage and tells the tale of the many pioneering men and woman who shaped it, each in their own way. This ancestry of people may not have been related by blood, but together they form the family tree of Nederburg. These roots run deep and the branches will continue to reach new heights.
Nederberg Wines, Sonstraal Rd, Daljosafat, Paarl