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A fine vintage

Jul 12, 2019 | Featured, REAL|People

Distell’s new head winemaker boasts an impressive career trajectory

Announcing the recent appointment of a new head winemaker, global liquor distributor Distell expressed pride at having Andrea Freeborough join the company, whose stable includes a diverse range of brands, from premium labels such as Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap and Alto (which, along with others, now form part of Distell’s new premium wine company, Libertas Vineyards & Estates) to more mainstream offerings such as 4thStreet, Two Oceans and Drostdy Hof. 

Having served as cellar-master at Nederburg since 2015, Freeborough left her role at the Paarl winery at the end of May to take up a position overseeing the production of South Africa’s largest wine portfolio – a mammoth task, and one her track record suggests she’s well-equipped to excel at. 

“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 winemakers and viticulturists,” says Johan Venter, who heads up Distell’s Centre of Excellence: Intrinsic. 

Armed with BSc Hons degrees in viticulture and oenology from the University of Stellenbosch, Freeborough’s career began in an assistant capacity at Neethlingshof in Stellenbosch. In less than three years she became a card-carrying winemaker where she worked under Nederburg cellar-master Razvan Macici, producing the whites. Four-and-a-half years later, still in her early 30s, she was appointed to head Distell’s Die Bergkelder, a job she did for a decade before returning to Nederburg to take over from her former mentor Macici in 2015. 

“With her impressive qualifications, excellent sensorial instinct, and close to two decades of successful winemaking experience under the belt, Andrea has 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,’ says Venter.

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