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As in virtually every industry, women have not been as well represented among winemakers as their male counterparts – something that their progression and acceptance in the industry is changing for the better.
This year’s Mercury Wine Week, being held at Durban’s Suncoast from August 15-17, features numerous award-winning women winemakers among the 80 exhibitors and hundreds of wines on show. Asara assistant winemaker Tanja-Mari Goedhart relishes the opportunities to produce the farm’s flagship Bell Tower Collection. Bonnievale Cellars winemaker Jolene Calitz le Roux spent her childhood harvesting grapes and making wine.
Boschendal white winemaker Lizelle Gerber has been on the Franschhoek-based farm since 2006, establishing herself as one of the hottest winemaking talents. Across the valley, Bosman Family Vineyards winemaker Corlea Fourie brings “the soft, feminine touch only a woman can” to the estate’s wines.
De Grendel Wines winemaker Elzette du Preez won the Dux Student Award for Cellar Technology and the Elsenburg Dux Diploma and has gained substantial international experience working in California and touring France and New Zealand.
Mari van der Merwe is one of Diemersdal’s winemakers, while Fairview assistant winemakers Adele Dunbar and Stephanie Betts proudly uphold fine winemaking traditions on that Paarl-based family-owned farm.
JC Le Roux cellarmaster and winemaker Eluna Basson has undoubtedly been behind countless celebrations given that her days are dedicated to producing award-winning méthode cap classiques, while Mount Vernon cellarmaster and winemaker Debbie Hooper holds a special place in her heart for KwaZulu-Natal. The Durban family settled in the Cape several years ago in search of a lifestyle change, affording Hooper the chance to produce exceptional quality wines.
Perdeberg winemaker Carla Herbst believes the Boland is one of the Cape’s finest wine-growing regions and retains the tradition for setting trends.
Quoin Rock assistant winemaker Narina Cloete completed her honours degree in oenology cum laude.
On Vrede en Lust, winemaker Susan Erasmus “now lives the love of wine”, while Zonnebloem’s red winemaker Bonnie van Niekerk and white winemaker Elize Coetzee epitomise the joys brought from the vineyards to the cellar.
Just tasting these wines would be cause for celebration, but The Mercury Wine Week will also give away a Suncoast Experience. The complimentary two-night stay for two adults in a premier suite including breakfast, two R250 spa treatment vouchers and R100 in gaming chips collectively worth R6 100 will be the culmination of one lucky couple’s visit to the show.
Mercury Wine Week tickets, costing R100 each, can be bought via Computicket or at the door, and proceeds are donated to The Mercury Hibberdene Children’s Holiday Home for underprivileged children.