We would like to officially introduce our winemaker, Vanessa, who joined the team at Highlands Road Estate January 2015 (long overdue introduction, I know).

We thought it to be the perfect opportunity as we have just released the first wine she made at Highlands Road Estate from Harvest throughout fermentation, maturation, bottling, labelling as well as boxing. Her very own Chardonnay 2015.


At the age of 42 Vanessa decided it was now-or-never and started her degree in Oenology and Viticulture at Elsenburg, just outside of Stellenbosch, in 2010.

In 2013 she joined Nederburg for a contract harvest, soon after which she traded the beautiful Boland to join Michael White at Highlands Road Estate in the cool-climate valley of Elgin.

This is what she has to say about herself as winemaker:

“I have been involved with the various aspects of wine for 28 years.  This has included the entire process of vinification, viticulture, planting new vineyards, selling and promoting , creating wine tasting clubs and the sheer enjoyment of sharing fine wine with friends over good meals.

No other profession could ever have given me the diversity of knowledge and fulfillment that I have derived from my involvement with wine production.  The pursuit of perfecting the skill of vinification, combined with growing/attaining wine grapes that are absolutely most suitable in quality for their purpose, is the force which has driven me for over 2 decades.  I intend to allow it to drive me forward for all the decades still to come.  I am truly grateful to Oenology.

Although I have had many years of experience with wine, I finally decided to do a degree in Agriculture, majoring in Oenology, Viticulture and Cellar Technology in 2010.  At age 42 this was quite an adventure, I met some fabulous people as fellow class mates that were 2 decades my junior and had a most stimulating 3 years of academic joy, graduating Cum Laude at the end of 2012, with the academic trophy 2012 for  Agricultural Business Management as an extra bonus.

After an exhilarating harvest at Nederburg, I decided to return to my preferred scale, boutique winemaking.  I moved to Hermanus knowing that something wonderful awaited me in the Overberg.  I joined Michael White, the owner of Highlands Road Estate, in January 2015 as his resident Winemaker and have had 2 very satisfying vintages.  What a super region for great quality wine, with very special terroir on Highlands Road Estate.”

The only real way to get up-close and personal with our winemaker is by having a taste of her handiwork in a wine glass!