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PUBLIC PROFILE

DYNAMIC FEMALE DUO AT HISTORIC NEDERBURG ESTATE

Posted by Lorenzo Samuels on 08 August 2018 1:55 PM CAT
Lorenzo Samuels photo

The Drakenstein Local Tourism Association is celebrating women in wine during August by putting the spotlight on some of the progressive female winemakers and their assistants in the region through a fun series of #winewednesdays.

By profiling these women, the tourism association is paying tribute to the increasingly important role they are playing in a previously male-dominated industry.

The white wines crafted at the historic Nederburg wine estate are in the very capable hands of the dynamic duo of winemaker Elmarie Botes and assistant winemaker Jamie Fredericks.  These two young women are forging a path for female winemakers and are united in their passion for creating incredible wines.

Elmarie took over the reins in November last year and was joined by Fredericks three months ago.   Although both are ardent fans of Chenin Blanc, they are also finding ways to ignite an innovative spark and have a couple of new ideas up their sleeves.  They work very closely together, doing joint tastings and making decisions in consultation with each other.

Elmarie is keen to acknowledge the work done by other female winemakers, who have paved the way for the younger generation.  “We are now reaping the benefits of the sacrifices made by previous generations of female winemakers.  The era of male domination in the wine industry is changing as you see more and more women entering the industry.  My advice to other young women would be to be true to themselves and not to be scared to ask questions.  It is important for women to reach out and support one another,” mentions Botes.  She is a keen outdoor enthusiast, secretly hopes to take part in the Survivor adventure series, is learning to become fluent in Xhosa and hopes to complete an MBA.

Botes loves the versatility of Chenin Blanc, but is also enthusiastic about the opportunity to gain exposure of working with so many lesser known varietals at Nederburg.  She dreams of being part of a harvest in the Mosel region of Germany to explore the wines, especially Riesling, the vineyards and cellars.  “Ultimately I’d like to give back to the community and I am hoping to establish a bursary for textbooks to a deserving student.  It would be so rewarding to invest in someone, who is struggling to make ends meet, and help them along their journey.

Fredericks remains in awe of the complexity of winemaking.  “It presents a constant challenge to balance art and science.  We are always looking for innovative ways to improve the wines.  We’re basically trying to capture the essence of the grape in a bottle,” says Fredericks, who studied BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology before being drawn into winemaking.

Outside of the cellar, Jamie loves being on the stage acting and dancing in community variety shows.  She dreams of establishing her own wine brand to recognize her family’s ongoing support and would still like to travel, especially to Italy and Spain. Her advice to young women:  “Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Set your own dreams and don’t live your life on Instagram!  Work hard and don’t ever give up!”

Picking a wine that most accurately reflects their personalities, Elmarie compared herself to the Anchorman Chenin Blanc, which is a gorgeously balanced blend of four components that each adds something different to the overall complexity of the wine.  Jamie on the other hand matched herself to a Gewurztraminer – off-dry with a surprise element of sweetness.

For more information on #winewednesdays, read the blog on www.paarlonline.com.

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