Q&A With Our Head Winemaker Jean Nel

We asked Jean, who hails from the Klein Karoo, a half-dozen questions and here’s what he had to say…

When did you first become interested in becoming a winemaker?

I grew up on a table and wine grape farm in Calitzdorp and from a young age I was very interested in agriculture. Before I went to school I would drive around with my dad during harvesttime and I remember the trips to the co-operative winery, and all the ice-cold tanks and aromas of fermentation. I think its safe to say I already knew I wanted to make wine after those experiences.

What is your most memorable wine or wine-tasting experience?

My most memorable wine-tasting experience is probably tasting some of Château d’Yquem’s incredible sweet wine out of the barrel.

 What do you enjoy best about being a winemaker at Cederberg Wines?

I enjoy being able to make wine in one of the most amazing areas in South Africa and working with all the grape varieties that I really like.

What are the fundamentals of your winemaking approach?

I would say attention to detail and always giving a 100% and then an extra 3%. The extra 3% makes the difference between making an average wine and creating an exceptional wine.

What are your personal winemaking goals?

I want to make wines of exceptionally good quality and to make some of the best wines in South Africa, focusing especially on Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.

What is your favourite food and wine pairing? 

Cederberg Shiraz with a kudu fillet or any venison.

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