The newest member of the Nederburg winemaking team, Elmarie Botes, fell in love with the idea of winemaking during a cellar tour in Grade 11. Now 31, she’s responsible for the estate’s white wines and is currently completing her first harvest.
After graduating with a BSc in viticulture and oenology from Stellenbosch University, she gained cellar experience at a number of premier estates, including Lanzerac, Groot Constantia, Steenberg, Kanonkop, Jordan and Fleur du Cap. She also participated in a three-year internship with the Cape Winemakers Guild as part of its Protégé Programme.
On the 2018 harvest:
“I’m cautiously excited about what it will eventually deliver in wine quality, despite a number of challenges, most presented by the ongoing drought. Yet, every vintage comes with its own unique set of problems that require solutions – and that’s something I welcome. I find the uncertainty strangely invigorating, it’s like a thirst for discovery and knowledge.”
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On making wine:
“I try to interfere as little as possible in the winemaking process. In my opinion, a wine needs to express its true character and terroir. As a winemaker, I see my job as guiding the grapes to their full, individual potential. I particularly enjoy working with Chenin Blanc, one of South Africa’s earliest and most widely planted grape varieties, because it’s so versatile. I believe our country’s strongest suit is its ability to make this wine in a variety of different styles.”
On her love for wine:
“While you drink a glass of wine, it takes you to a specific place, at a specific time, and makes you part of the story. I enjoy the way wine brings different people together and the way that one can pair wine with food. I consider this to be more art than science.