Seasoned, award-winning winemaker Lizelle Gerber is joining Nederburg Wines in Paarl as its new cellar master, from 1 August 2019. Nederburg, one of South Africa’s most pedigreed names in wine, is part of the newly-formed Libertas Vineyards and Estates, Distell’s independent premium and fine wine company.
“We are proud and excited to welcome Lizelle to the team,” says Niël Groenewald, managing director of Nederburg. “She brings an impressive set of innate talent and creativity, as well as practical knowledge and experience to the position of cellar master.”
A diligent winemaking approach
Gerber obtained her degree in winemaking at the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute of Stellenbosch, following a one-year stint with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Here she learned perseverance, persistence and precision, she says, elements that are serving her well in her current vocation.
She started her winemaking career in 1996 at Zevenwacht, but it was her tenure at Avontuur in the early 2000s that cemented her love for the vine. In between her time at these two estates, Gerber spent a harvest season in the Alsace region of France where she gained important early exposure to the international wine industry. She was winemaker at DGB’s Bellingham from 2004 after which she joined Boschendal in August 2006, where she worked for over a decade as its dedicated Methode Cap Classique (MCC) and white wine maker.
Diversifying the Nederburg team
In her new role, Gerber will oversee the production of Nederburg’s extensively awarded wine portfolio, and serve as mentor to Pongrácz’s young winemaking protégé, Andiswa Mapheleba, to fast-track her development as a specialist MCC winemaker.
“Lizelle is known for being progressive, strategic, and disciplined yet innovative. We are confident in her ability to provide astute direction and inspiration to Nederburg’s team of talented winemakers, and look forward to gleaning valuable insights from her as she takes up the reins to lead Nederburg in its next phase of continuing a legacy of winemaking excellence.”
Groenewald explains that Nederburg’s unassailable reputation is no cause for complacency. “If anything,” he says, “it increases the pressure to maintain our position and with so many wines of excellence produced locally, it’s a very real and exciting challenge.“
“At Nederburg, we continue to work to the mantra of innovation and discovery, and to the belief that one can never stop learning or finding ways to do things better. Lizelle is a most suitable candidate to further progress Nederburg’s already enviable position in the South African winemaking industry.” – Press release, Libertas Vineyards and Estates