WINEMAKER NEILS VERBURG
Walker Bay Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon
At 6’4” with a head of wild hair the commanding presence of Niels Verburg belies his consciously minimalist approach to winemaking. “The nitty gritty of good winemaking is to have good grapes, good yeast and good barrels. Being high tech and cutting edge isn’t important to me. When you go into a winery and see centrifuges and reverse osmosis, it’s like going into the kitchen of a top restaurant and seeing a microwave.”
Verburg is a bit of a local legend, known for shaving his head at the beginning of each harvest so as to keep his cool when making big winemaking decisions; and for refusing to start a harvest or bottle wines on Mondays. But his advocacy for little intervention both in the vineyard and the cellar chimed with our own philosophy, and in 2012 Carteirra engaged the charismatic winemaker to oversee winemaking for all of our wines from the Walker Bay.
Don’t let his boyish looks fool you. With roughly 30 years of winemaking under his belt Niels is a familiar site to many in the wine world. He has headed projects around the globe but remains proudest of the fact that he makes a South African Shiraz that Australians just can’t get enough of. Verburg’s focus and dedication to red wine varietals made him an obvious choice to head up our winemaking within the Carteirra project. He has made production of great wines his life’s work, and the proof is in the distinctive, spicy wines he makes for his own family winery, situated on the eastern slopes of the Houw Hoek mountains, 30 km from the Atlantic Ocean. Luddite Wines is a small, family affair with only 6 of the farm’s 17 hectare planted to vines. Verburg lives and works here alongside his wife and viticulturalist, Penny.