Background


THE STORY OF THE NAME

“Everyone wants to know the story behind the name - Nitida. We could say we just liked the sound of it, which is of course true, but there are also a couple of inferences which made it the right name for us. The first is the story that the Protea nitidus (or rather unromantically, in Afrikaans, the Waboom) grew unusually small on our hills which led botanists to believe they had found a new sub-species. Their bubble was burst when the “little” Waboom grew into a big one on transplanting. In the same way, we thought our little farm had the heart to grow big wines.”

“We also hoped that in the future our wines would and will live up to the name’s Latin roots “nitidus” meaning bright, shiny, healthy, refined and cultured. So far we think we’re off to a great start. Our first and only wine released in 1995, a Sauvignon Blanc, won a double-gold at the 1996 Veritas Awards -- who can ask for a brighter or healthier beginning than that.”

WINEMAKER/OWNER - Bernhard Veller

Education at the German School in Johannesburg, South Africa and with an undergraduate degree in Metallurgy by the age of 21, Bernhard was not looking like a likely candidate for a Cape Town winemaker. A masters degree in Chemical Engineering was a little more on track for this career choice as was his near fanatical wine collecting habit and wine-drinking escapades, but still he chose to direct his efforts for the next 7 years towards project engineering and general management.

Fortunately, his management job took him to Cape Town, where his dislike for traffic drove his home hunting efforts to the Durbanville region where he was lucky enough to buy a small sheep farm. Once he discovered he was living right in the middle of a premium grape growing district, it took less than 2 years for him to make his first wine on the neighbouring farm. Within 5 years he had planted 6 hectares of his favourite red cultivars and made the first Nitida vintage – all this while still managing a pressure gauge manufacturing business.

With the work load at his formal employment, he was forced to employ a winemaker from 1996-1998 but Bernhard was always involved in determining the styles to be made and methodologies to be employed at Nitida. Apart from the chemical engineering background, Bernhard has learnt his trade “on the job”. Working with some of the best consultants in South Africa and relying heavily on a well-developed palate and a definite preference for fruit driven wines (fortunately in line with the grapes in the Durbanville area).

By 1999 he was able to begin working on Nitida on a full time basis. Always an “experimentation-driven cellar”, the trials and adaptations have taken on new energy as he builds heat and cooling exchange systems, adapts tanks, builds temporary irrigation systems, experiments with canopy management techniques and rye grasses in the vineyards – all in the eternal search for ways to perfect his wines from the Durbanville grapes. Who says an engineering degree was inappropriate.

PHILOSOPHY

“I want my customers to be able to taste the care and love in a glass of Nitida wine, handcrafted to be full of outspoken fruit with wood to complement not overawe.”

Bernhards wine making philosophy

“I get some of the best grapes in the country, I should be making some of the top wines. Most important to me is to make the style of wines that we enjoy ourselves – elegant, infinitely drinkable, not over wooded, showing the fruit off at its best by not compromising on the intensity of fruit flavours. You should be able to enjoy a bottle with a meal, from the first to the very last sip, and be left wanting another glass of the same.”

Nitida
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