Nederburg is one of the best known South African wine brands, and produces a wide range of wines that span all main styles, and pricing levels. With headquarters housed in the majestic, and very traditional Cape Dutch Manor House that was built in 1800, it today combines the history and tradition at its roots with modern heritage and thinking in terms of its winemaking.
Nederburg is arguably most famous for the internationally renowned ‘Nederburg wine auction’, now one of the 5 most important wine auctions in the world, launched in 1975, and designed to showcase the very best and the rarest of South Africa’s wine production, where international buyers can bid for unique wines, not available elsewhere on the market.
Nederburg has had a strong presence in the UK for a number of years, and is one of the oldest brands on the market. It has been rejuvenated with the recent grown in the South African wine market, which is now the 5th in the leader board of sales by country in the UK, and accounts for about 6% of total volume.
What’s The Background To Nederburg?
Purchased in 1791, the new owner Philippus Wolvaart, immediately set about developing the vineyards, but also built a prestigious homestead and manor house, which was completed in 1800, and is now a national monument, and the prized headquarters of the business – a veritable testament to the architectural style of the Cape Dutch tradition.
He set about building the business with a pioneering spirit and passion, and by 1808 had planted over 63,000 vines, producing not only wine, but also brandy. The next chapter of Nederburg began in 1810 when he sold the farm to William Retief. Vineyard development continued under his ownership for 7 decades; following 2 further sales, the business was acquired by a member of the Cape Cabinet in 1910. Ownership continued to transfer over the next few years, until Nederburg moved into the hands of a British Diplomat in 1924.
It was in 1925 that Nederburg first began to ascertain its position as a high quality wine producer, winning awards in 2 regional wine shows.
One of the most important changes was the purchase of Nederburg by German brewmaster Johann Georg Graue in 1937. It was he, who first truly focussed on the passion for high quality, and who introduced techniques and strategies, which, at the time were unheard of. He understood the importance of viticulture, how different grapes were suited to different locations, and the importance of when to pick and how to ferment. He and his son after him, developed some of the most innovative techniques used in the Cape at the time, including cold fermentation, the use of hydraulic presses and continued experimentation to ensure the pinnacle of quality. With his son, having studied at the world famous wine institute of Geisenheim in Germany, innovation continued, and by the late 40s, Nederburg was picking up the majority of wine competition trophies in the Cape, and by the 50s, was starting to create waves at international competitions also.
This spirit of innovation and quest for quality continued through the decades, under the tutelage of head winemaker Gunther Brozel, whilst landholding and vineyards expanded to ensure production could keep up with demand.
The now world famous Nederburg auction was initiated in 1975, originally with just 6 producers, to showcase and sell unique and rare wines, including Nederburg’s late harvest ‘Edelkeur’ wine. Still by invitation only, today, it is one of the world’s leading wine auctions and the highlight of the South African wine calendar.
International status was sealed when Gunther Brozel won the prestigious 'Winemaker of the Year' award in the International Wine and Spirits competition; whilst at home, the company continued to expand its vineyard holdings into new and premium areas, such as Elgin, one of the top, cool climate areas of South Africa today.
With the end of apartheid, and renewed opportunity in the UK, Nederburg continued its efforts, and also implemented new policies of support for farm workers, and investment into fairtrade practices, as well as promoting biodiversity and supporting conservation and the indigenous habitat of its vineyards. Today it remains South Africa’s most award winning winery, culminating with the revered South African wine guide ‘John Platter’s’ winery of the year in 2011.
The legacy of the owners and the shapers of Nederburg was honoured in 2012, with the release of a range of limited quantity wines, named after the winemakers and owners, including ‘Motorcycle Marvel’, a Rhone style blend to commemorate Gunthere Brozel, and Brewmaster, a Bordeaux blend in honour of one of their first owners.
What Styles Of Wine Does Nederburg Make?
Nederburg produces a range of classic varietal and dual varietal wines, all with the traditional Nederburg brand logo and emblem on the label. There are a number of distinct ranges, which cover different price points and styles.
Nederburg dual varietals – a range of modern style, easy drinking wines, to serve as a good introduction to the brand – includes a ripe, creamy and exotic fruit-filled Chardonnay/Viognier, and a vibrant, spicy Shiraz/Pinotage.
Nederburg Winemasters Reserve range – this is the classic range of varietal wines from Nederburg, which showcase their regional wines, and cover the majority of grapes from zesty Sauvignon Blanc, fruity Chardonnay and some lively Rose wines to a range of full flavoured reds, including Merlot, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
Nederburg Manor House range – this is a range of wines, produced from the best estates, and showcasing the ethos of the company; at a more premium level, the range covers the majority of the main grape varieties.
Nederburg Heroes range – this is a range of unique wines, which celebrates the founders and pioneers of the business, all named after key people within the heritage of the business including ‘Anchorman Chenin Blanc’, ‘Motorcycle Marvel’ (a Rhone blend named after Gunther Brozel), ‘Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc’ and ‘Beautiful lady Gewurztraminer’.
Nederburg Ingenuity range – this is Nederburg at its pioneering best, with a small premium range of blends, which push the boundaries and show true innovation. The range includes a white, made from a blend of Chardonnay, Semillon, Chenin and Riesling and a red of Italian nature, from an innovative blend of Sangiovese, Barbera and Nebbiolo.