Waterford Estate’s best welcome

Known for its idyllic landscapes, picturesque mountain views and an extensive range of acclaimed wines, Waterford Estate can now also boast the title of Best Cellar Door Experience. Arnold Ras talked to the estate’s cellar master and managing partner, Kevin Arnold, after the announcement by Tim Atkin’s 2021 South Africa report.

Pictures supplied

What makes wine tastings at Waterford Estate so unforgettable?

At Waterford Estate, we endeavour to welcome our guests like you would welcome your family. Our wine tastings are presented in a way that guests can relate to as well as learn more about the wines of Stellenbosch. Our goal is to ensure guests really enjoy their time spent with us and remember their visit as an experiential occasion they will treasure.

Talking the art of winemaking, what are your thoughts on a sprinkle of luck versus pure talent and experience?

The art of winemaking is undoubtedly influenced by nature, not only in terms of terroir or climate change, but the very understanding of what you have to work with and how your choices can be the difference between a great quality wine or a good quality wine. Surely luck was not part of the mantra of a great artist such as Picasso?

Kevin Arnold

Tell us a bit more about the Ord family, the owners of Waterford Estate.

The Ord family was initially based in Johannesburg when they decided to invest in a Stellenbosch vineyard in 1997/1998. Waterford soon became a special family destination for them. Here, the celebration of family and friends became an institution.

At Waterford, less is more. You plant vines on only half of the property’s 120ha?

My respect and understanding of the importance of nature in our agricultural practices forced me to develop Waterford Estate from a predominantly fruit farm into a recognised vineyard and winery. With that in mind, sustainability and sound agricultural practices were to be our primary drivers.

Which pillars highlight the estate’s sustainability practices?

The successful management of our wastewater, the recycling of material, as well as our approach to the processing of organic material on the farm for re-use as compost in our vineyards.

As Waterford’s cellar master and managing partner since 1998, what is your impression of South African wine on the international stage?

Top South African wines have earned their rightful place in the world of wine – they can justify themselves in certain wine categories as being some of the best examples of those wines in the world. Our biggest challenge, however, remains that our top wines are under-priced and, as a result, are not taken seriously by the world market.

After nine years at Delheim and a decade at Rust en Vrede, what triggered your love affair with Waterford?

The Upper Blaauwklippen valley had intrigued me from my student days in Stellenbosch. To be given the opportunity to develop vineyards with the end goal in sight and design a winery to become the home of this goal was something few winemakers get to enjoy. The red wines of the Helderberg have a very distinctive character and being able to write the script for what Waterford would stand for and become was indeed a great privilege and fulfilment.

Dine at Salt

Waterford recently welcomed seasoned chefs Craig Cormack and Beau du Toit, who will be heading the estate’s courtyard restaurant, Salt. Open on Tuesdays to Sundays from
11.30am to 3.30pm, Salt offers a curated menu with seasonal ingredients. Call 021 880 5300 or send an email to info@waterfordestate.co.za for more information.