The History of Nederburg Wine Estate

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The History of Nederburg Wine Estate

Nederburg’s story started in 1791 when German immigrant Philippus Wolvaart acquired 49 hectares of land in the Paarl Valley. He named his property Nederburgh, in honour of the VOC commissioner, Sebastiaan Cornelis Nederburgh. Later, the ‘h’ was dropped from the spelling of the farm’s name and it became Nederburg as it is known today. The beautiful thatched and gabled Cape Dutch manor house that Wolvaart completed in 1800 is a national monument today.

At the heart of Nederburg’s winemaking journey are the people who are part of our rich and colourful history, from generations of award-winning and innovative winemakers to Ilse Graue, who lived in the manor house until the late 1950s and was a gracious host to Nederburg’s many visitors. Legend has it that on a balmy summer’s night you can sometimes still hear the sounds of laughter, clinking crystal glasses and the tinkling of her Beckstein piano floating out over the rose garden that she planted…

Read more about these fascinating characters who played a role in shaping Nederburg’s success story and the Heritage Heroes wines that honour them.

Read more about Nederburg’s highlights through the years below.

The Nederburg Timeline

1791

NEDERBURG IS FOUNDED

German immigrant Philippus Wolvaart is granted 49 hectares of land in the Paarl Valley, which he acquires for 5 600 guilders.

He named his property Nederburgh, in honour of the VOC commissioner, Sebastiaan Cornelis Nederburgh. Later, the “h” was dropped from the spelling of the farm’s name and it became Nederburg.

NEDERBURG IS FOUNDED
1800

NEDERBURG’S MANOR HOUSE, A NATIONAL MONUMENT

Wolvaart completes his beautiful thatched Cape Dutch manor house , now a national monument. Sadly, his wife Margaretha could not share in Wolvaart’s pride as she had died two years previously, in 1798. One of the finest examples of period furniture in the house is the unique stinkwood and yellowwood wall cupboard with an ornate carved gable-top showing intricate detailing of flowers and feather plumes. The tiles adorning the fire place in the music room are also still intact, as is the music box.

NEDERBURG’S MANOR HOUSE, A NATIONAL MONUMENT
1810 to 1918

EARLY YEARS

1810
The farm is bought by Willem Petrus Retief and remains in the family for 71 years.

1881
Petrus Jacobus Hauptfleisch becomes the new owner.

1902
Politician Henry Latham Currey, a member of Merriman’s last Cape Cabinet before the Union of South Africa in 1910, buys the farm.

1918
Maurice Pare acquires the farm and makes wine that is highly commended at the Paarl Wine Show.

1924

COLONEL LYALL BECOMES NEDERBURG’S NEW OWNER, HE PLANTS CORK TREES

Colonel Robert (Bob) Adolphus Lyall, a soldier in the Indian service and a British diplomat, buys Nederburg and by 1926 wins a prize for his wine. During his time as owner of Nederburg, he planted cork trees to harvest cork for Nederburg’s wines – a venture which ultimately proved unsuccessful due to South Africa’s climatic conditions. These cork trees still occupy pride of place at Nederburg.

COLONEL LYALL BECOMES NEDERBURG’S NEW OWNER, HE PLANTS CORK TREES
1937 to 1950

JOHANN GRAUE ACQUIRES NEDERBURG, A PERIOD OF PROGRESSION

1937
Another German immigrant, Johann Graue buys the farm and begins propagating improved plant material to produce better grapes, a precedent that still holds to this day. He also introduces the technique of cold fermentation to improve wine quality.

1947
Nederburg wins seven first prizes at the Cape Wine Show.

1950
Nederburg achieves four prizes at the Empire Wine Exhibition in London.

JOHANN GRAUE ACQUIRES NEDERBURG, A PERIOD OF PROGRESSION
1937 to late 1950s

ILSE GRAUE INTRODUCES A GRACIOUS SENSE OF HOSPITALITY

Johann Graue’s wife, Ilse, filled her home with her Beckstein piano, priceless paintings, silverware, porcelain and crystal glass to give it the refinement she was used to in Germany, established an exquisite rose garden, and was a warm and gracious host to Nederburg’s many visitors.

ILSE GRAUE INTRODUCES A GRACIOUS SENSE OF HOSPITALITY
1953

ARNOLD GRAUE, TALENTED YOUNG WINEMAKER WITH A LOVE FOR FLYING

Graue’s son, Arnold, another highly talented winemaker and potentially Graue snr’s successor, dies tragically in a plane crash. Not quite two weeks after his passing, Nederburg breaks all records on the Western Province Wine Show held in Paarl, winning 12 first prizes, the General Smuts trophy for best wine and a gold medal for scoring the highest number of points on the show.

ARNOLD GRAUE, TALENTED YOUNG WINEMAKER WITH A LOVE FOR FLYING
1956 to 1966

GÜNTER BRÖZEL’S EARLY YEARS AT NEDERBURG

1956
Günter Brözel, a young German winemaker, is appointed by Nederburg’s new owners Monis Wineries. Also a pioneer, he introduces many important improvements to vineyard management and winemaking techniques, later adopted by others.

1966
Nederburg is acquired by Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery which merges with Distillers Corporation in 2001 to form Distell.

GÜNTER BRÖZEL’S EARLY YEARS AT NEDERBURG
1969

BRÖZEL CREATES EDELKEUR

Brӧzel pioneers the making of noble late harvest wines in South Africa, creating his maiden Edelkeur in 1969. This renowned wine made from botrytised Chenin blanc was intended to rival the famous Sauterne, Tokaij and Trockenbeerenauslese wines, and has earned Nederburg considerable international kudos over the years. It also gave rise to the Nederburg Auction (now known as the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction). A maverick and a maven, he was known for getting around on a BSA 250cc motorcycle.

BRÖZEL CREATES EDELKEUR
1973

BARONNE IS BORN

Nederburg’s most successful red blend, Baronne, is born. The ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend was named by Brözel to signify an everyday wine that’s affordable, elegant and satisfying: quite simply an everyday wine that, as he put it, would “add nobility to any occasion”.

BARONNE IS BORN
1975 to 1977

THE NEDERBURG AUCTION AND PRIVATE BIN RANGE ARE ESTABLISHED

1975
The very first Nederburg Auction (now known as the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction) with just six participants takes place at Nederburg in Paarl. Held annually ever since and hosted by Nederburg until 2019 when it’s relocating to The Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch, it is a showcase for South African wines of exceptional quality or rarity, and is considered one of the world's most important wine auctions.

1977
Brözel decides to use the occasion of the Nederburg Auction as a platform to the test the appetite for various new styles of wine made at Nederburg. This results in the creation of the very exclusive Private Bin label and a unique numbering system, still in use today.

THE NEDERBURG AUCTION AND PRIVATE BIN RANGE ARE ESTABLISHED THE NEDERBURG AUCTION AND PRIVATE BIN RANGE ARE ESTABLISHED
1983

BRÖZEL RECEIVES IMPRESSIVE LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION

1983
Brӧzel wins the prestigious Diners Club Winemaker of the Year award.

1985
Brӧzel becomes the very first in South Africa to receive the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Winemaker of the Year award. He is also again honoured with the coveted Diners Club Winemaker of the Year title.

BRÖZEL RECEIVES IMPRESSIVE LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
1989 to 1998

BRÖZEL RETIRES, NEDERBURG CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1982 MAKES HISTORY

1989
Brӧzel retires and hands over the reins of Nederburg cellar-master to Newald Marais, a talented winemaker who worked alongside Brözel since 1976.

1994
The 1982 vintage of Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon is served at the inauguration of South African president, Nelson Mandela.

1998
President Nelson Mandela hosts Fidel Castro at Nederburg. Magnum bottles of the 1982 vintage of Nederburg’s Cabernet Sauvignon are served.

BRÖZEL RETIRES, NEDERBURG CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1982 MAKES HISTORY
2001

ROMANIAN WINEMAKER RAZVAN MACICI JOINS NEDERBURG AS CELLAR-MASTER

Razvan Macici, born in Romania to a winemaking family, joins Nederburg as cellar-master and shows remarkable versatility in building both the reputation and the multi-tiered portfolio of Nederburg wines. He proves equally skilled at making red, white and dessert wines and is always exploring new possibilities and new tastes. He introduces Mediterranean varietals, from Grenache and Carignan, to Tempanillo, Graciano, Mourvèdre, Tannat and Verdelho, all varietals suited to the local impact of climate change. He experiments widely with wood, most notably Eastern European oak.

ROMANIAN WINEMAKER RAZVAN MACICI JOINS NEDERBURG AS CELLAR-MASTER
2011

NEDERBURG: PLATTER’S 2011 WINERY OF THE YEAR; TROPHY FOR EMINENCE 2009

Nederburg wins the Platter’s South African Wine Guide’s Winery of the Year award. Nederburg’s 2009 Eminence, a Private Bin wine made for sale exclusively on the Nederburg Auction, is judged the wine of the show at the 2011 Five Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney. It also takes the trophy for the top dessert wine on the show.

NEDERBURG: PLATTER’S 2011 WINERY OF THE YEAR; TROPHY FOR EMINENCE 2009
2012

MORE IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENTS

Macici is crowned the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year. Nederburg is announced the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s South African Producer of the Year.

MORE IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENTS
2015

ANDREA FREEBOROUGH JOINS NEDERBURG; TEAM DIMENSION DATA FOR QHUBEKA

Andrea Freeborough is appointed as cellar-master to succeed Macici, under whom she worked for five years at an earlier stage of her career. She brings a wealth of experience and a formidable prize-winning track record of her own. Freeborough and her team of winemakers continue to explore new territory, experimenting with new varietals and styles. Nederburg becomes the exclusive premium wine partner of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Africa’s first UCI-registered pro-cycling team that’s riding to change lives.

ANDREA FREEBOROUGH JOINS NEDERBURG; TEAM DIMENSION DATA FOR QHUBEKA
2016

NEDERBURG RAKES IN THE AWARDS; QHUBEKA BICYCLE ASSEMBLY FACILITY

Nederburg is announced Platter’s South African Wine Guide’s 2017 Winery of the Year. It also wins the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s South African Producer of the Year award and a trophy for the best Cabernet Sauvignon for its 2013 Private Bin R163 Cabernet Sauvignon. Nederburg is featured, for the first time, in Drinks International’s World Most Admired Wine Brands top 50 list in 49th position. The 2012 vintage of Nederburg’s flagship sweet wine, Eminence, wins an International Wine Challenge trophy. Nederburg starts working more closely with Qhubeka, a non-profit organisation that distributes bicycles in South Africa to achieve socio-economic upliftment in identified areas. Qhubeka’s first and only bicycle assembly facility is established at Nederburg, employing previously unemployed women from the local Paarl area.

2017

INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENTS BY NEDERBURG FOR ITS CHENIN AND CABERNETS

Nederburg is again included in the Drinks International top 50 list of the World’s Most Admired Wine Brands, this time in 36th position. It earns international recognition for its beautifully produced worldwide television commercial. The winery earns a trophy for the best South African Chenin blanc (priced above ₤15) at the Decanter World Wine Awards, for the 2016 vintage of its Heritage Heroes The Anchorman wooded Chenin blanc. The same wine is also included in the Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc list. Nederburg earns a trophy for the best Cabernet Sauvignon at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, for the 2013 vintage of its Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage of the same wine gets selected as Red Wine of the Year in Platter’s South African Wine Guide. Nederburg continues its support for Team Dimension Data as well as Qhubeka.

2018

MORE AWARDS; CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR TEAM DIMENSION DATA FOR QHUBEKA

Cellar-master Andrea Freeborough and her team continue Nederburg’s prize-winning legacy with the winery again featured in Drinks International’s top 50 list of the World’s Most Admired Wine Brands, in position 41. In addition to a wide range of gold, double gold and platinum medals earned both internationally and at home, the winery achieves two trophies: for the 2004 vintage of its Private Bin S316 Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest at the Six Nations Wine Challenge, and for the 2016 The Motorcycle Marvel Rhône-style red blend at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition. Nederburg maintains its support for Team Dimension Data as well as Qhubeka.

2019

2019 History

Nederburg’s prize-winning tradition continues as it makes wines people love to enjoy. Grape varieties are matched with location to yield fine fruit flavours. The winery’s viticulturists, winegrowers and winemakers all work together to nurture the vines and ensure the grapes are picked at just the right time for vinification in the cellars. And in the fragrant depths of those cellars, you’ll find a team working with passion, patience and precision.

2019 History 2019 History