– Exploring the past to understand the present and shape the future –
“Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.” Nelson Mandela.
With such a rich cultural and natural heritage, South Africans can stand tall and proud. At Nederburg, the team is embracing Heritage Month by looking back to some momentous moments in its history, while also exploring the heritage of its winemakers and viticulturists.
Here are some facts about Nederburg’s history…
• Nederburg has a framed copy of the original title deed, showing the granting of the farm to founder, Philippus Wolvaart on December 1, 1791 by the Dutch East India Company (DEIC). No-one is sure why, but he named the farm after DEIC commissioner, Sebastiaan Cornelis Nederburgh. Later, the “h” was dropped from the spelling of the farm’s name and it became Nederburg.
• Wolvaart paid 5 600 guilders for the land that lay between the Berg and Palmiet rivers and measured 57 morgen and 300 square roods. He planted grapes to make wine and brandy. He also envisaged and built a beautiful and gracious family home. Sadly, his wife died in 1798, before she could experience the elegant H-shaped, gabled residence he had built for her. Completed in 1800, it is now a national monument and continues to assume pride of place on the farm.
• Nederburg changed hands over the decades and when it was bought in 1937 by Johann Graue from Germany, he expanded the property by acquiring neighbouring land. Today the winery draws fruit from its own three farms, as well as a meticulously selected network of top Cape growers.
• Graue had been a director and part-owner of the Haake-Beck Brewery in Bremen before coming to South Africa. (You can see the influence in the Nederburg crest, which features crossed anchors, an adaptation of the arms of the Haake-Beck Brewery, where Becks Beer is still made today.)
• Apart from his brewing expertise, Graue was also tea specialist. His background led him to understand the very clear relationship between the quality of the grapes reaching the cellar and the eventual wine. He was one of the very first in South Africa to focus on identifying top-performing grape clones in his bid to advance quality. He also introduced the process of cold fermentation for better fruit flavour and vitality and was rewarded with many prizes on local wine shows.
• Graue sent his son, Arnold to study winemaking in Germany. He returned and showed enormous promise, accelerating his father’s award-winning reputation but his life was cut short in a light aircraft accident in 1953.
• Arnold was succeeded by Günter Brözel, also from Germany, who pioneered South Africa’s first noble late harvest wine. Because its residual sugar levels were higher than those permitted by legislation at the time, the only way the authorities would permit its sale was via auction and that is how the Nederburg Auction, now known as the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction, was born in 1975.
Some of Nederburg’s winemaking and viticulture team members were asked to share what reminds them of their heritage, and to indicate their stand-out food-related memories that bind them to their past. See their responses below.
First up is Nederburg’s energetic cellar-master, Lizelle Gerber, who says: “My immediate reflex answer is die klein blou Shoprite sakkie! This memory goes back to the 1970s when all our hand-written family recipes were kept in a little blue Shoprite bag. Included was a banana bread recipe, hand-written by myself in very neat cursive writing when I was around 9 years old. There’s another, a sago pudding recipe, that my mother apparently wrote just after I was born. She got the recipe via Springbok Radio, when it still existed in those days. Presenters Esme Euyrard and Jan Cronje hosted a programme called So Maak Mens and my mom wrote this recipe down very quickly while listening to the presenters explain the various steps involved. For me, it’s still the very best flop-free recipe, all these years later.”
Isabel Teubes, the winery’s viticulturist, explains that it’s the simple things that take her back to her heritage. “My great grandmother’s antique Oregon pine buffet that dates to 1900 and has pride of place in my home. It features prominently whenever I serve my guests some heart-warming food and delicious wines. The dish that takes me back to my earlier years, is lamb rib with pumpkin cakes and green beans. Typical Boerekos!”
Heritage Heroes wines
As a further celebration of its heritage, Nederburg is offering wine lovers across the country the chance to stock up on some fine wines from its Heritage Heroes range. This special collection of individually named, hand-made gourmet wines, honours some of the personalities who have shaped Nederburg and its history as one of South Africa’s most awarded wineries. To find out more about this range, click here.
To purchase Nederburg’s six-bottle spring box of Heritage Heroes wines, curated by sommelier extraordinaire, Pearl Oliver-Mbumba, click here. Available until 30 October, it includes two bottles each of Nederburg’s Heritage Heroes The Anchorman Chenin Blanc 2018, Heritage Heroes The Beautiful Lady Gewürztraminer 2019 and Heritage Heroes The Motorcycle Marvel Rhône-style blend 2017, at only R1 030 (15% discount).
Nederburg contact details:
Physical address: Sonstraal Road, Dal Josafat, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 862 3104
Categories: Nederburg Wine Estate