Nederburg appoints new cellar-master

South African wine producer Libertas Vinyeards and Estates has appointed Lizelle Gerber as the new cellar-master of its flagship wine brand, Nederburg.

Gerber’s appointment follows the promotion of Andrea Freeborough to head up the company’s overall wine portfolio in May.

The company is part of Distell’s independent premium and fine wine company, Libertas Vineyards and Estates, which was spun out of the parent group in January in a move that marked a “significant shift” in the group’s strategy and focus.

Nederburg’s managing director Niël Groenewald said the team were proud and excited to welcome Gerber, who was known for being progressive, strategic, and disciplined as well as innovative.

“She brings an impressive set of innate talent and creativity, as well as practical knowledge and experience to the position of cellar-master,” he said.

“We are confident in her ability to provide astute direction and inspiration to Nederburg’s team of talented winemakers, and look forward to gleaning valuable insights from her as she takes up the reins to lead Nederburg in its next phase of continuing a legacy of winemaking excellence.”

In her new role, Gerber will oversee the production of Nederburg’s wine portfolio, and also serve as a mentor to assistant winemaker  Pongrácz, Andiswa Mapheleba, in order to fast-track her development as a specialist MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) winemaker.

Gerber started her winemaking career at Zevenwacht, in 1996, after gaining her winemaking degree in Stellenbosch and a year in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). She worked at Avontuur in the early 2000s but gained exposure to the international wine industry during a a harvest season in the Alsace. From 2004, she was winemaker at DGB’s Bellingham before joining Boschendal, where she worked for over a decade as its dedicated Methode Cap Classique (MCC) and white-wine maker.

Libertas Vineyards and Estates is a wholly owned subsidiary of Distell that looks after all of its premium brands, including Nederburg, Alto, Durbanville Hills, Plaisir de Merle, Pongrácz, Fleur du Cap and Allesverloren and as well as ‘heritage’ brands Chateau Libertas, Zonnebloem and the Tabernacle.

Previously the premium wines were managed as a division within the main company’s multi-category portfolio.

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