Handmade the Nitida Way
Although not intentionally award driven, there is no denying the status of this tiny family owned Durbanville cellar. Strategically we are following a very traditional but personalised approach to making wine. In line with our brand honesty, we don’t try to be clever or practise contrived marketing jargon. We completely believe that beautiful wines come from day to day thoughtful management in the vineyards. So, we spend a disproportionate amount of time checking the small things on a daily basis.
How does a small property running a flock of 50 sheep, 2 cows and a sheepdog become one of South Africa's most successful small wine cellars? We posed this question of Bernhard and Peta Veller owners of Nitida and they shared their extraordinary story with us.
How does a small Durbanville property running a flock of 50 sheep, 2 cows and a sheepdog become one of South Africa's most successful small wine cellars?
This type of Cinderella fairy tale only gets written if a few very special ingredients get blended with a number of happy coincidences. So what was our Nitida recipe? First we found a piece of beautiful soil (just “to live on”), we also happened to really fancy drinking good wine. Maybe it helped to be inadvertently perfectly trained for the job of crafting a wine brand (Bernhard is a chemical engineer and Peta was in advertising).
"Now 25 years on, this family owned and run cellar is one of the most consistently awarded and loved boutique wine cellars in South Africa..."
Finally we just had to add some magic ingredients: Peta’s mother, our wonderful "Matriarch" helped us finance the farm; we found a 3-cylinder, 30 kilowatt, semi-derelict 1971 Ford tractor in the shed which we promptly named Pufford and learnt to drive; then there was Klaas, who had worked on the farm for years (he taught us to milk a cow and chase down sheep) and the final essential element was tonnes of energy and wonderful people.
We bought the farm in 1990 and 2 years later, Bernhard took a week off work so he, Klaas and Pufford could plant a couple of vineyards (we intended to make just a few barrels). There was no way of knowing then that, within 3 years, we would have made our first double-gold Sauvignon Blanc or that by 2001 we would be recognised as a benchmark Semillon producer.
Now 25 years on, this family owned and run cellar is one of the most consistently awarded and loved boutique wine cellars in South Africa with a host of double gold, gold and silver medals, a few 5 star platters and countless awards and certificates, (many of which are on display in the cellar) including being named “Top Producer” at the 2009 Michelangelo International Wine Awards, no mean feat for a cellar with just 11 permanent staff members.