Ever since he made his first bottle of Shiraz at Elsenburg, Niels Verburg dreamt of having his own wine farm and label. After completing 3 years at Elsenburg, South Africa's "University of Wine", Niels made wine in Barsac, New Zealand, Western Australia and Chile and was winemaker at Beaumont Wines from 1995 to 2003. In 1999, sixteen years after that first bottle of Shiraz, Niels established Luddite Wines, a small family-run wine farm situated on the slopes of the Houw Hoek Mountains, just outside Bot River. Assisted by his wife, Penny, who takes care of the vineyards, Niels focuses solely on his favourite varietal, Shiraz.
Niels is passionate about making wine, from the challenges of each harvest to making the perfect wine: “The fact that every year one gets thrown a different curved ball and each harvest brings new challenges to make that "perfect wine" is what drives and motivates me. I live for harvest time - it always amazes me that so many winemakers complain that they are too tired and to busy to enjoy harvest. If you are not enjoying harvest then you are in the wrong game”.
He does, however, admit to having a few funny quirks – he never starts the harvest or bottles wine on a Monday. He also shaves his head at the beginning of the harvest as he doesn’t have the time to think about combing his hair (he says it helps him to keep his cool when under pressure!).
Luddite Shiraz 2005