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Distell appoints new head winemaker

South African wine company Distell has promoted the cellar-master for its Nederburg brand, Andrea Freeborough, to head up the company’s overall wine portfolio.

In her new role as head winemaker, Freeborough, who has been responsible for the company’s flagship brand since 2015, will oversee all the brands in the portfolio including Nederburg, the fine and premium wines in stand-alone company Libertas Vineyards and Estates, as well as its more mainstream brands, such as 4th Street, Two Oceans and Drostdy Hof.

She will report to Johan Venter, who heads up Distell’s Centre of Excellence: Intrinsic.

Venter said Freeborough had a solid track record and was ideally placed to provide outstanding direction and inspiration to the company’s brands.

“Andrea will be carefully looking after our wine brands from a top-line perspective, managing all aspects of winemaking by working hand-in- hand with our talented winemaker and viticulturists,” Venter said.

“With her impressive qualifications, excellent sensorial instinct and close to two decades successful winemaker experience under her belt, Andrea as certainly proven her ability to lead top-performing teams, to innovate and experiment and to simultaneously create speciality wines and those aimed at broad appeal.”

Freeborough started her career as an assistant winemaker at Neethlingshof in Stellenbosch before working with Nederburg cellar-master Razvan Macici as winemaker for three years, then heading up Distell’s Die Bergkelder brand.

In January this year, Distell made a “significant shift” in focus by spinning out its premium and super-premium wine brands into a new stand-alone company, Libertas Vineyards and Estates under new MD, Katy Nash. Brands under the new company include Alto, Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, Plaisir de Merle, Pongrácz, Fleur du Cap and Allesverloren and ‘heritage’ brands Chateau Libertas, Zonnebloem and the Tabernacle.

Last week it was announced that the Nederburg Auction, one of South Africa’s is rebranding as the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction in a bid to help drive the premiumisation of South African wines.

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