Carrie’s Corner: “It’s a dream come true”, says Nederburg cellarmaster Samuel Viljoen

It’s not often that our resident wine expert Carrie Adams is in the company of someone as famous as her latest guest. In Carrie’s Corner is Samuel Viljoen, who has just taken over the reins as the Nederburg cellar master. – Jarryd Neves

Samuel Viljoen on his position at Nederburg:

It’s been quite a journey and yes – it’s a realisation of a dream. I can still recall when I was at university seeing Razvan [Macici] and Andrea [Freeborough] on the cover of the Winelands magazine and thinking, “wow, now that will be something.”

Samuel Viljoen on his background:

In my final year at Stellenbosch University [studying viticulture], I was lucky to do my practical at Fairview with Anthony de Jager. That was quite an experience. In 2003,I did a stint at Goudini Wine Cellar. I was working there on the red wine side. It taught me a little bit about handling volume – at that stage I think we did about 17,000 tonnes and the red was about 4,000 tonnes.

Carrie Adams on American wines from Napa and Oregon:

I was one of those naysayers about wine from America, both Napa and Oregon. I have to apologise and eat my words, because they’re actually producing some serious, super smart wine out of America. 

Samuel Viljoen on joining Nederburg:

In September 2007, I joined Nederburg as assistant red wine maker. For me, coming through being [the] assistant winemaker, moving up to red wine maker and now this new venture, I think it gives me the equipment to support my team. If they are functioning well it makes my job easier. 

Samuel Viljoen on the current Nederburg offerings:

It’s almost like a pyramid. So, entry level wines will be your 5600 – we have merlot, cabernet, sauvignon, shiraz pinotage and duet. We’ve also got chenin, under the 5600 label. Then, we have Lyric as a label on its own.

Then we have our Nederburg Core Range. There we have the merlot, cab, pinotage and Baronne. Unfortunately, Paul Riesling is not continuing anymore. Next, we have our Manor House shiraz, cab and sauvignon blanc. Also within that section are the Heritage Heroes – we make those wines to honour and pay homage to legendary winemakers, such as Günter Brözel.

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