Wine, Women and Waterkloof!

Winemaker Nadia Barnard-Langenegger is the talent behind the range of Waterkloof wines which include Astraeus MCC, Circle of Life, Circumstance, Seriously Cool and False Bay & Peacock Wild Ferment.

These award-winning wines are celebrated by wine enthusiasts globally with the Peacock Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc recently chosen by Wine of-the-Month Club (WotMC), South Africa’s oldest wine club, for inclusion in a members’ pack selection.

Having celebrated her 10th year at Waterkloof in January this year, we thought it was time to chat to Barnard-Langenegger about her wines, life in lockdown and what a woman winemaker brings to the craft – which is especially relevant for Women’s Month.

How difficult is it as a woman winemaker?
It’s what you make of it – if you go out with a mindset that you are at a disadvantage then you will be at one. For me it has always been a privilege to work with men such as Andre van Rensburg and Bruce Jack who I learnt a lot from and who never treated me any differently to my male counterparts.

Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men?
I would like to think so and have tasted many wines which can be described as feminine and elegant but to contradict that I have tasted many wines made by men that have the same qualities.

Tell us about life for you during lockdown.
It has been a great opportunity to spend more time with my husband, learn new things and re-invent ourselves. We have been fortunate to be able to work in the winery from day one and have taken to more of an online presence to market our brand. During lockdown our team at Waterkloof has made a lot of videos to communicate with our clients on a more personal level and have also done a lot of live wine tasting. Have a look at the Waterkloof Facebook and Instagram pages (@waterkloofwines) to learn more about our way of farming, biodiversity, where you can find our wines in the world and also about the custodian – Paul Boutinot.

How long do you think it will take for the SA wine industry to recover from the draconian lockdown rules?
The problem with not being able to sell is definitely on current bottled stock not moving as well as cash flow but it will also have a long-term effect on volumes that will still be in the tank when the 2021 harvest approaches. We might still have a lot of wines and not have space to process the next vintage. With wineries being strapped for cash it will also have an effect on the growers to be able to be paid properly for their grapes. It is, unfortunately, a snowball effect which will need to be approached with care.

What can South African wine drinkers do to help?
For now, go onto social media whenever you do open a bottle and tag the producers. Ask their friends and family overseas to support the South African industry and also post to social media.

Can you tell us about your Peacock Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2019 that Wine of the Month Club has on their list and what food it pairs well with?
It’s a fantastic drink. The grapes are from vineyard sites overlooking False Bay- all cooler climate. We ferment the juice naturally by using the yeast from the vineyard to do so. We do basic fining on the wine to make sure that the wine stays pure. I enjoy this with some prawns done on the braai with a bit of lime juice over it. I’m delighted it was chosen recently by the judges for WotMC for a recent pack selection for their members.

Can you tell us a bit about some of your more recent wines that will be available on the market?
We generally keep our wines on the lees and in barrels for a bit longer to develop complexity but we are now looking at bottling some of the 2020 white wines which are showing beautiful structure and finesse. I look forward to bringing this to the market.

Anything else you would like to add?
As a part of the Waterkloof team we are unbelievably grateful to all of our loyal clients who have supported us above and beyond during this difficult time. It has been truly heart-warming and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the farm as soon as it is allowed.

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