Samuel Viljoen

Cellar Master
Nederburg Wines
Nederburg’s cellar-master since April 2021, Samuel Viljoen gives everything to his winemaking and is very in tune with his team. “We are like a band of brothers who spend more time with each other than with our families.”

What this seasoned winemaker loves most about his job, that now involves overseeing the production of the Paarl cellar’s multi-tiered range distributed across more than 80 countries worldwide, is that he is contributing to some of the most meaningful moments in other people’s lives. “It gives me such a great feeling when wine lovers tell me about the Nederburg wine they served to announce an engagement, to toast a birthday, to honour old friends or new ones, to celebrate a new job or a rite of passage. I feel proud and humbled at the same time.”

The Stellenbosch University graduate in viticulture and oenology who was born in Bredasdorp, has been part of the award-winning winery team since 2007, first as an assistant, and from 2014 as its fully-fledged winemaker of Nederburg’s reds. Previously, he worked for a mix of small and large wineries, from the highly acclaimed American boutique cellar Domaine Serene in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the large volume Goudini Winery in Rawsonville with its accent on mainstream markets. His previous South African experience also included stints with Klein Constantia, Fairview and Longridge.

He enjoys the countervailing forces of his role, now as a cellar-master. “You have to be very analytical but also learn to trust your intuition and your taste buds. You need structure but flexibility to work with as many as 23 different varieties at any given time. You must be able to enjoy making minute quantities of special collectible wines and on the same day, switch to making popular wines for global markets, and you must feel at home creating classical but also original, very different wines.”