• Meet Karlin & Annette – Vrede en Lust’s first ladies of wine and viticulture

    Newly-appointed head winemaker, Karlin Nel, and viticulturist at our Elgin farm Casey’s Ridge, Annette Human, are two supremely talented ladies with big ambition and vision to boot. We asked them a few questions to better get to know this dynamic duo responsible for getting our wines from grape to bottle. One thing to emerge clearly from the interview is that both have their feet planted firmly on Mother Earth while reaching for the stars!

    Tell us more about your life journey so far?

    Karlin: I grew up all over South Africa, my dad worked in the banking industry so we moved quite a bit. First Pretoria, where I was born, then Durban, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria again and then Stellenbosch where the seeds of becoming a winemaker sprouted at a young age. After another move up north where I finished school, my passion for wine led me back to Maties where I obtained my BSc. oenology and viticulture degree in 2014. Shortly thereafter I joined Vrede en Lust as assistant winemaker.

    Annette: I was born on a farm near Lydenburg in Mpumalanga. On my dad’s side I come from a long line of farmers, while my mom is the academic in the family. They raised me with the belief that nothing is impossible to achieve if you can dream big. I too studied at Stellenbosch University where I obtained my BSc. oenology and viticulture and then a masters degree in viticulture. From there I gained experience working on a number of wine farms across the Western Cape before joining the Vrede en Lust team.

    What drew you to a career in the wine industry?

    Karlin: I loved plants from an early age. Vineyards fuelled this passion and then wine took over! To be honest I did not have any real idea of what to expect when I started my studies – I had no agricultural background. But I loved the idea of creating a natural product that people could enjoy. Winemaking is such an interesting and stimulating career. You learn something every day, and working with the variables of nature keeps you on your toes constantly.

    Annette: Given my background I was never going to settle for an office job, the lure of working in the outdoors and agriculture was always there. Viticulture piqued my interest more than any other career option and today I am glad to say that it turned out to be my calling.

    What do you consider the most important attributes to be successful at your job?

    Karlin: Determination, patience, a love for people. And the most important thing is passion, because if you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work! I feel winemaking is more an art than science, and art is meant to be enjoyed and appreciated after all. Because we work with nature we have to be patient and understand what the vines are telling us. Then you need determination to see you vision for the wine come to fruition. And finally a love for people is important because good teamwork and morale are imperative for running a successful cellar.

    Annette: Planning, coordination and knowledge of your land and product. I think always giving your all is key and applying the basic principles to the best of your ability.

    How do you like to spend your free time away from the cellar and vineyard?

    Karlin: My free time and hobbies range from food to people. I love food, wine and people. To enjoy good company around a table with fine wine and food feels like the ultimate luxury to me. Apart from that I enjoy running, biking, anything involving the sea, browsing markets and live music shows.

    Annette: I love spending time with my gorgeous husband and our three canine children. Also camping, mountain biking and good food, wine and whiskey!

    What are your plans and aspirations for the Vrede en Lust brand?

    Karlin: I would like to help grow the well-established brand even further and unearth all the potential offered by our vineyards. There are so many opportunities for growth in the wine industry, it is just about seizing those chances to build your brand. I learned a lot from my predecessor and mentor Susan Erasmus, not only about winemaking but also leadership and life lessons.

    Annette: With regard to the vineyards, I strive to continuously improve the quality of the grapes through precision management of every single block and by doing this hopefully we can also ensure the sustainability of the vineyards for the future.

    What is on your wine and travel bucket list?

    Karlin: I have been fortunate enough to cross two ultimate destinations off of my bucket list, namely France and Italy. Everything I experienced during my visits there in terms of wine, food and travel were the stuff of dreams! Places I would still love to see include the USA for wine, and Greece and Scotland for food and travel.

    Annette: If I have to single out a vineyard-related bucket list trip, it would have to be harvesting in the snow in Canada to make ice wine. I would also love to explore the Netherlands by bike, and visit Scotland and Ireland for the culture and whisk(e)y!


  • Vrede en Lust Artisan Blanc Fumé seals FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 spot

    Vrede en Lust, the majestic wine estate situated at the foot of the Simonsberg between Paarl and Franschhoek, has added to its impressive awards tally in 2017. This after the producer’s Artisan Blanc Fumé received a coveted FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 trophy at the recent awards ceremony of this annual competition dedicated to South Africans’ favourite white wine variety.

    This year the competition judges had the unenviable task to crown the Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc wines in South Africa from a whopping 190 entries received. The Top 10 judging panel consisted of convenor and seasoned winemaker Neil Ellis, joined by leading wine writers and judges Christian Eedes and Samarie Smith, winemakers Kobus Gerber and Wilhelm Pienaar, as well as Morgan Steyn, Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé.

    The winning Artisan Blanc Fumé is a delicately wooded Sauvignon Blanc from Vrede en Lust’s popular Artisan Range, a collection of terroir-driven wines handcrafted in small quantities for the estate’s wine club. In fact, only 2 800 bottles of the Artisan Blanc Fumé 2016 were produced. Matured in older 500-litre French oak barrels for 10 months, it has a delicious ripe pear flavour and hints of litchi with an undertone of balanced oak. Seamless from start to finish with a coated acidity and rounded palate, this is a wine with outstanding longevity as previous vintages have shown.

    The grapes used to produce the Artisan Blanc Fumé are cultivated on Vrede en Lust’s Elgin farm, Casey’s Ridge, which specializes in the production of cool climate white varieties. Vrede en Lust owners the Buys family acquired this picturesque 90 ha former apple farm, located in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, in 2004. In the early years the yields were quite small due to the cool climate and the vigour of the soils, and the resultant small batches of grapes sparked the inspiration for the artisanal Artisan range.

    Newly-appointed head winemaker Karlin Nel accepted the Top 10 trophy on Vrede en Lust’s behalf, and expressed delight that less commercial wooded styles of Sauvignon Blanc are now, in addition to critical acclaim, increasingly capturing the attention of consumers. “As a winemaking team we really are given creative free rein with the Artisan Range, which, coupled with the interesting Elgin fruit allow us to create wines with a lot of detail and dimension. Without a doubt this has contributed to the soaring demand for the range and its success at wine competitions.”

    The Artisan Blanc Blanc Fumé 2016 is available at Vrede en Lust’s tasting room, online wine shop and selected fine wine retailers while stocks last.

  • A toast to our leading ladies

    “She is of the strangest beauty and the darkest courage, and when she walks with intent the earth trembles beneath her feet.”
    – Nicole Lyons, Hush

    The combination of power and finesse has always been a hallmark of Vrede en Lust’s wines, which no doubt can be largely attributed to towering feminine influence. Throughout the estate’s illustrious history, women have always been front and centre in its success. This women’s month we were reminded of these inspirational ladies and how their stories have been immortalised in some of Vrede en Lust’s most iconic wines:

    Marguerite Chardonnay

    One of Vrede en Lust’s most recognizable and award-winning wines, this Chardonnay is named of the eldest daughter of the farm’s first owner, Jacques de Savoye. She was a flamboyant woman who defied conventions. Made from a prime block in front of the manor house, only limited quantities of this special wine is made. It is full-bodied with citrus, toasted nuts and butterscotch aromas followed by a creamy, well-balanced palate and tones of almond and pear.

    Lady J Syrah

    A wine that celebrates a mother’s love and example. Ouma Johanna, the Buys family matriarch, is admired for her elegance and poise and hence the nickname Lady J. This appealing Shiraz was named in her honour as a tribute on her 80th birthday. In keeping with the character of its namesake, it is made in a classical, understated style with supple fruit and spice. The Lady J has gathered widespread critical acclaim since it was first released, notably a double platinum award at this year’s National Wine Challenge/Top 100 SA Wines for the exceptional 2013 vintage.

    Jess Dry Rosé

    Continuing the cherished tradition of naming wines after family members, this refreshingly dry rosé is named after owner Dana Buys’ eldest daugther Jessica Lee. It is a blend of 71% Pinotage, 26% Shiraz and 3% Grenache. Lively and flavourful with abundant ripe red cherries, watermelon and strawberry, combined with red summer fruit flavours on the nose and palate followed a smooth, mouth-watering finish.

    Sarah Bubbly by Nature

    Like her older sister Jessica, Sarah shares a passion for the Vrede en Lust brand and has been an active wine ambassador over the years. Like her, this wine is quirky and vivacious. It is a distinctive bottle-fermented bubbly blended from the finest Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc base wines. With its extraordinary freshness and depth of flavour it is fast becoming one of the most popular wines in the Vrede en Lust portfolio.

    Red Lady Merlot

    The beautiful ladies of the Vrede en Lust sales team with their signature red dresses are a vital part of the estate’s allure with their consummate knowledge, hospitality and energy. This Merlot is selected from one of the high-lying vineyard blocks on Vrede en Lust’s Elgin farm, Casey’s Ridge. It has an enticing red fruit aroma with supple, integrated tannins and a lingering, fresh finish.

  • Popular Jess Dry Rosé shows its star quality at Rosé Rocks!

    It’s been a spectacular start to the 2017 wine awards season for Vrede en Lust, with excellent results from various leading competitions. Now one of our most popular wines, the Jess Dry Rosé joins the esteemed list of Vrede en Lust wines to be awarded this year, after winning a gold medal at the Rosé Rocks awards, an annual competition dedicated exclusively to showcasing South Africa’s finest rosé wines. A total of only 15 double gold medals, and 20 gold medals were awarded out of 161 still and sparkling wines entered.

    This achievement is not the only recent milestone for the Jess Rosé, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. First released in 2017, it was named after Vrede en Lust owner Dana Buys’ daughter Jessica Lee to commemorate her 16th birthday. His brief to the cellar team then was that the wine had to live up to its namesake – vibrant, energetic and playful, yet stylish and elegant.

    The Vrede en Lust Jess Rosé is a blend of predominantly Pinotage grapes blended with Shiraz. The grapes were harvested in small batches at varying sugar levels, and the different components were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks to enhance the options for final blending. Juice was treated like white wine and fermented with no lees contact and no malolactic fermentation. This resulted in a wine with fresh, well-defined red fruit layers and a lively, balanced acidity.

    The pale pink Jess Rosé is brimful of strawberry, raspberry and fresh cut watermelon flavours. Its superb structure and balance makes it a versatile food wine. The Jess is terrific with dishes as diverse as aromatic chicken curries, fruit-based salads and any combination with seafood, especially salmon.

    Did you know? More about rosé:

    • Rosé is one of the fastest growing wine categories in South Africa. According to industry body Sawis, local sales of rosé wine trebled between 2007 and 2014. This is in line with international trends, in fact, rosé wine sales are growing at least 10 times faster than the growth of overall table wine sales in the US, according to Nielsen research.
    • Provence in France is seen as the traditional birthplace of rosé. The famous dry, pale pink wines of this region continue to grow in popularity in major international wine markets and in France, sales of rosé now outstrip white wine.
    • While rosé has stereotypically been perceived as a feminine drink, much of the growth in US rosé sales is being attributed to men, according to a 2016 Forbes.com article – so much so that the term brosé (referring to rosé that men supposedly like) emerged and started trending on social media.

    Sources: Sawis, Nielsen, Forbes.com


  • Vrede en Lust Artisan Range Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 shines at Signature Red Blend Report 2017

    The results of the second annual Signature Red Blend Report were announced recently to a select group of wine industry stakeholders and media in Cape Town, with the Vrede en Lust Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 enjoying pride of place among the elite group of red blends selected. What is more, the Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon was one of only 4 wines entered for this year’s competition to receive a score of 92/100 points, reaffirming the rare quality that has made it one of the most sought-after offerings on the Vrede en Lust wine portfolio.

    The Signature Red Blend Report is organised by Winemag.co.za under the convenorship of well respected wine writer and judge Christian Eedes. The main criteria for entries are stipulated as wines which are “distinctive of their originators” and “those which draw particular attention in the market place”. These wines are generally not Bordeaux or Cape Blends, but predominantly contain the Rhône varieties, although they are not limited to them. There were 82 entries from 62 producers received this year. Of these entries only 20 wines received a rating of 90 or higher on the 100-point quality scale.

    The Vrede en Lust Artisan Range was originally initiated as an experimental range made in limited quantities (between 5-15 barrels) specially for Vrede en Lust’s discerning Wine Club members. The winemaking approach with these small batches is artisanal and creative, with minimum intervention and utmost attention to ensure the wines display a character distinctive of their vineyard site. For the Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used from 2 specific blocks on the Vrede en Lust estate carefully selected for their individual flavour characteristics. The Shiraz shows spice and and upfront fruit character, which is well balanced by the typical Cabernet berry aromas.

    The Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon is comprised of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The excellent 2013 vintage shows layered dark fruit, and a beautiful perfume of pepper and attractive oak on the nose. The Signature Red Blend Report judges described the wine as “Rich and full but balanced – good depth and freshness, the tannins nicely chewy. It has a real lusciousness about it.” 

    For more information about this exclusive wine and availability, contact the tasting room on info@vnl.co.za or 021 874 1611.


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