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Luddite Shiraz

Some people describe Luddite Shiraz as Niels Verburg contained in a glass; Niels is six foot four and his smile is the embodiment of a warm embrace.

As a young winemaker traveling the world, Niels confirmed his love for Shiraz when working a harvest in Australia, but it was a winery in Chile that inspired his wine-making method. “It was as if I’d gone back 20 years; it was ramshackle and chaotic, but they had great fruit and passion and I’d never seen that quality of wine”, he explains.

“The nitty gritty of good winemaking is to have good grapes, good yeast and good barrels,” says Niels. “Being hi-tech and cutting edge isn’t important to me. When you go into a winery and see the centrifuges and reverse osmosis, it’s like going into the kitchen of a top restaurant and seeing a microwave, you think “Hey, that’s not right!”’

Luddite Shiraz 2000 was the Luddite’s first vintage. “There’s been an improvement every year,” says Niels. “The ultimate goal would be a perfect wine, but of course that doesn’t exist.”

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Luddite Chenin

Chenin Blanc is a grape close to the Luddites’ heart, so they couldn’t resist making their own. Luddite Chenin 2012 is their first vintage.

The Luddite Chenin is a real ‘push the boat out’ wine. Niels wanted to express the nature of Chenin Blanc in the Bot River area, and batches of free run juice and pressed juice were put in barrels without settling and allowed to ferment naturally. He also did a batch of fermentation on skins with regular punch downs.

Old barrels allowed the natural grape expression to come through, and no sulphur was added to allow the wine to develop its own characteristics without any intervention. The Luddites feel by doing this they have allowed the wine to express exactly the direction it wanted to go.