The 2019 Winemaker of the Year reveals what he likes most about this job

Nitida’s winemaker Daniel “Danie” Keulder has been named the 2019 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for his 2017 Nitida Pinot Noir. ...

Nitida’s winemaker Daniel “Danie” Keulder has been named the 2019 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for his 2017 Nitida Pinot Noir.

This prestigious award is presented to the winemaker who produces a wine that the judging panel considers the best in a specified class. The category for 2019 Winemaker of the Year was Pinot Noir.

Keulder – who received R50 000 as part of his win – joined the Nitida team as winemaker in December 2014 after making wine for five years at Groot Constantia. He studied at the University of Stellenbosch and achieved a B.Sc. Agric Viticulture and Oenology. He then did his M.Sc. in Oenology on commercial tannin additions and their influence on red wine quality.

He answered some questions over a glass of - what else - Pinot Noir:

How does it feel to be named Winemaker of the Year?
Pretty good and humbling at the same time! Making wine is a team effort so thanks to the Nitida team we have managed to bring this prestigious trophy home!

What is your philosophy about winemaking?
I think every winemaker has his own unique approach to winemaking. However, you always need to get the basics right first – the planning is just as important as the plan; your footsteps are the best fertiliser for any project. Lastly, winemaking is not the making of but the expression of the terroir.

Aside from this latest award, what would you consider your greatest achievement as a winemaker?
The successful launch of three new high-end products at Nitida: The Golden Orb Sauvignon Blanc, The Tinkery (an experimental label) and The Grande Matriarch MCC have to be right up there! Other than these recent releases, the recognition and awards from by the various wine industry players has been great.

Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or wine region?
As a winemaker I think it is very important to learn and ask advice from as many other winemakers as possible. There is one winemaker I need to mention and that is Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia. This is where I learned all the basic philosophies and techniques of winemaking.

What do you enjoy about your job and being part of the Nitida team?
It has to be drinking wine at 8am! Jokes aside, harvest time must be the most fun time of the year where all the planning from the previous year comes together.

What would be your recommended food pairing with your award-winning 2017 Nitida Pinot Noir?
On the back label we recommend pairing the wine with a wild mushroom risotto. I have also done an ostrich steak with cherry compote at home that works very well thank to the wine’s jubilee of strawberries, liquorice and flambĂ© cherries on the palate.

If we are not being too cheeky, any idea as to how you will be spending your prize money?
Part of the prize is a return trip to any winemaking region in the world so the prize money will have to go towards spending money for the trip. At the moment the destination changes from day to day between Burgundy and New Zealand.

What is something other people might not know about you?
After my university studies, I was lucky enough to take a gap of three years making beer at a microbrewery in England. After that it was full time winemaking and then meeting my wonderful wife, Julie, and – a little later – three additions to our family which has all enriched my life.

Final word?
For the future I would like to keep on making wines that I love drinking and hopefully spend a couple more harvests in European cellars. 

  • Nitida is situated in Durbanville, an easy 30-minute drive from the Cape Town CBD. This family owned and run cellar is one of the most consistently awarded and loved boutique wine cellars in the country with a host of double gold, gold and silver medals, a few 5-star Platters Guide wines and countless awards and certificates including being named Top Producer and its winemaker Daniel Keulder being named the 2019 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for his 2017 Nitida Pinot Noir. Nitida has two restaurants – Cassia, overlooking the farm dam where guests can enjoy contemporary and stylish food either indoors or on the deck and Tables which is more family oriented and child friendly. Go to


©2019 Herman Lintvelt - WineTourismZA

You Might Also Like


Follow by Email