Nederburg’s new cellarmaster is Samuel Viljoen who has been part of the winery team since 2007. He started out as assistant winemaker in 2007 and was appointed as Nederburg’s fully fledged winemaker of red wines in 2014. He succeeds Lizelle Gerber, who has left to pursue other interests. In his new role, Viljoen oversees the production of the Paarl cellar’s multi-tiered range that is distributed to more than 80 countries worldwide.
Before joining Nederburg, the Stellenbosch University viticulture and oenology graduate worked in both boutique and larger-scale wineries. These included the highly acclaimed United States (US) cellar, Domaine Serene, in Willamette Valley, as well as the large-volume Goudini Winery in Rawsonville. In the US in 2003, Viljoen was one of just a handful of South African winemakers at the time to be given the opportunity to work in Oregon, now regarded as a source of some of the top US wines.
“My obsession with detail probably springs from those days in Oregon, where every tiny barrel of wine was treated as something truly precious, but then so was every larger tank,” Viljoen explains. “Big or small, everything was regarded as important, and that emphasis has never left me.”
His previous South African experience also included stints with Klein Constantia, Fairview and Longridge. What he loves most is that he is contributing to some of the most meaningful moments in other people’s lives. “It gives me such a great feeling when wine lovers tell me about the Nederburg wine they served to announce an engagement, to toast a birthday, to honour old friends or new ones, to celebrate a new job or a rite of passage. I feel proud and humbled at the same time.” – Press release, Nederburg Wines