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Meet our Winemaker

lisha-nelsonLisha Nelson is the eldest daughter of Alan and Marguerite Nelson and studied at the University of Stellenbosch where she obtained a BSc Degree in Viticulture and Oenology - cum laude.

Thereafter, she completed her MSc Degree on the subject of Brettanomyces. She then spent two seasons at Mulderbosch where she was shown the ropes by Mike Dobrovic, and another season at the Stonestreet Winery in California.

Lisha's training and experience have given her a very well-rounded scientific yet practical approach to wine making. She believes in applying her special touch to tried and tested industry methods to ensure the production of top quality and unique handcrafted wines, including a range of wines under her own name. The wines are known as "Lisha Nelson Signature Wines".

Winemaking Philosophy

Owner Alan Nelson's Wine Making Philosophy

"Since I acquired Nelson's Creek in 1987 the approach has been to strive for quality no matter the cost, from the preparation of the soil to the final product. Each block of soil on the farm has been scientifically analysed and deep-ripped with a D8 bulldozer to a depth of 1,4 meters for maximum root penetration. Vine rootstock, specially selected to suit the soil and micro-climatic condition of each individual block, has been purchased from South Africa's leading nurserymen, planted and reared by hand. I see each vine on Nelson's Creek as an individual, each requiring nurturing according to its own special characteristics. The same applies to each and every bottle of wine that we produce. Each bottle bears our name and has to be as close to perfect as it possibly can be. Being almost the best is simply not good enough!"

The Agter Paarl Region

Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate is situated on the Atlantic seaward side of the Paarl Mountain. This region, known as the ‘Agter Paarl’, can rightfully claim to be one of, if not the best, wine growing region in the world.

During the past few years grapes from this mini region were used for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines that have both won the incredible distinction in two consecutive years of being awarded the prize for being the best in the world at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France.

This show is held every second year and is the largest wine show in the world. It draws thousands of entries from every region in the world where wines of note are produced.

Eager to achieve what is unquestionably the most coveted wine prize in the world, wines form these regions are placed ‘blind’ before panels that consist of the best wine judges in the world. Tasting the wine blind means just that! Individual panels for each cultivar adjudge the wines entered for this ultimate test without having any idea of the country from where they come, let alone the mini region where the grapes were grown. In this manner the worlds best wine regions, subject their wines to this ultimate test that will determine which is really the best wine growing region in the world.  

There is no question that this is undeniably the mother of all wine competitions and it is rare for one country to have the good fortune of producing a wine that is crowned the champion in more than one cultivar. To achieve this accolade at two consecutive competitions is well nigh impossible given the vast number of entries received each year and the many factors that influence wine production year by year.

For the same mini region within a country to receive this unprecedented accolade is indeed nothing short of a miracle!

These facts place into perspective the incredible achievements that have been bestowed upon grapes grown in a relatively small part of South Africa’s best wine growing region.  

It is unbelievable that in 2001 and again at the very next competition that was held Bordeaux in 2003, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grapes from this region were sourced to produce wines that were both consecutively crowned the best in the world at the Vinexpo show.

In other words on four occasions over the past four years different wines that originate from grapes grown in this mini region were adjudged the best in the world by four different panels of the worlds best experts. This is a feat that is unequalled and will surely never be repeated anywhere in the world again.

It is well recognised that terroir plays a crucial role in the production of wines of great quality. There is no doubt that the afore going achievements are inextricably linked with the terroir and meso climate of this mini region which is unique for the following reasons:

  •     It is located in a wide undulating valley between the Paarl and Perdeberg Mountains.
  •     The valley is located in an area that is approximately 40 to 50 kilometres as the crow flies from the Atlantic Ocean.
  •     The icy Benguela current flowing southward down the west coast of Africa breaths streams of cool air into this valley at night.
  •     Cool misty mornings are frequent followed by warm sunny afternoons.
  •     The Paarl and Paardeberg mountains consist of two massive granite outcrops which were formed hundreds of millions of years ago and then gradually exposed over time.
  •     Over millions of years these granite outcrops have systematically been worn down.
  •     The soils in the valley now consists of an elaborate combination of this granite and shale mixed together since time immemorial.
  •     Water retention is good because of the high underlying clay content and root penetration is remarkably deep in these soils.

It will come as no surprise that this is one of the first regions in the Cape that was sought out by the French Huguenots for the planting of grapes shortly after they arrived in the Cape in 1688. Many farms in the region have deeds office entries dating back to 1692.

Famous winemakers, such as Gunter Broessel, internationally renowned winemaker from Nederberg produced grapes in the valley and it is here where Altus Le Roux sourced the grapes that won him the title of being the Champion winemaker of the world.

At present the area is one of the fastest growing in South Africa and boasts the establishment of ten new wineries in as many years. 85% of the producers in the region however still deliver their grapes to co-operative producers, including Boland, Wamakersvallei, Windmeul and Paardeberg.

Awards & Distinctions

2008

Nelson Wine Estate

Adjudged Champion Wine Estate and Private Producer under 2000 tons
in the Cape Winelands Boland Region 

Cabernet Franc 2008
 
Adjudged the South African Champion in its class at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Adjudged the South African Champion Other Red Cultivar at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Awarded a Gold medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Nelson Estate Shiraz 2003
 
Awarded a Gold Medal at the 2008 Michelangelo Wine Awards
 
Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Awarded a Gold Medal at the 2008 Michelangelo Wine Awards

Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Adjudged the best White Wine in the world with Oysters in the Netherlands - 2008

Lisha Nelson Signature Rosé 2008

One of the top three Rosés to have been awarded 3.5 stars in the December 2008 issue of WINE Magazine
Adjudged the Champion Rosé Paarl Region – SA Terroir Awards 2008
 
Awarded a Silver medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Pinotage Rosé 2008
 
Awarded a Silver medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Petit Verdot 2008
 
Awarded a Silver medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Rosé 2007
 
Awarded a Silver Medal at the 2008 Michelangelo Wine Awards
 
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2008
 
Awarded a Bronze medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
 
Awarded a Bronze medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Shiraz 2008
 
Awarded a Bronze medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 
Merlot 2008
 
Awarded a Bronze medal at the SA Young Wine Show 2008
 

2007

Estate Chardonnay 2005

Champion Chardonnay Paarl Region – SA Terroir Awards

 

2006

Estate Shiraz 2002

Champion Shiraz Paarl Region – SA Terroir Awards

 

2005

Nelsons Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Awarded a Gold medal at Michelangelo Wine Awards

Nelson Wine Estate

Adjudged South Africa’s ‘Best Wine lands Business Tourism Destination’ at the

Global Wine Networks Award Ceremony in Australia

 

2004

Estate Shiraz 2002

Awarded a Double Gold medal at the SA Veritas Awards

Estate Cabernet/Merlot 2002

Awarded a Gold medal at the SA Veritas Awards

Estate Chardonnay 2003

Awarded a Silver medal at the SA Veritas Awards
 

2003

Sauvignon Blanc 2003

Grand D’or Gold Award at Michelangelo International Awards

Chenin Blanc 2002

Silver Award at Michelangelo International Awards

Chardonnay 2002

Silver Award at Michelangelo International Awards

SAA First Class Listing
 

2002

Chenin Blanc 2002 Limited Edition

87 points in Steve Tanzer tasting

Sauvignon Blanc 2002

Voted best South African white wine

4 out 5 points for Quality in the Finnish Publication “Viinistä Viiniin”

2 out of 2 points for value price in the Finnish Publication “Viinistä Viiniin”

 

2000

Pinotage 1998

Four star red letter rating in Platters wine guide

Cabernet Sauvignon Paarl 1995

Diploma di Gran Menzione at Vinitaly

Shiraz 1999

Silver at SA Veritas Awards

Chardonnay 2000

Silver at SA Veritas Awards

 

1999

Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 Unwooded

Gold medal at the SA National Young Wine Show

 

1998

Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

Awarded a gold medal at the SA Veritas Awards

 

1997

Second year of production

Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Awarded a gold medal at the South African National Young Wine Show

 

1995

Awarded a gold medal at the SA Veritas Awards

Chardonnay 1997

Premium red letter rating in the John Platter’s Wine Guide 1997

 

1996

New Cellar in production

Wooded Chardonnay 1996

Class Winner and Champion South African Chardonnay and

Reserve Champion SA dry white wine (out of 864 entries)

Cinsaut/ Shiraz Blend 1996

Top scorer Muizenbibers Wine Club

Rated best red wine blend by wine writer David Biggs, Argus 27 September 1996

Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate

Trophy for Champion Wine Estate and Private Producer for the Boland Region   

(includes Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, and Tulbagh)

 

1995

Merlot 1995 – Maiden Vintage

Awarded a Gold Medal at the Veritas Wine Show of 1997

Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 – Second Vintage

Awarded a gold medal at the SA National Young Wine Show

Premium red letter rating in John Platter’s Wine Guide 1997

 

1994

First year of production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsaut

Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 – Maiden Vintage

Awarded a gold medal at the Paarl Young Wine Show

Chosen by the tasting panel of Air Namibia, Super Business Class

Cinsaut 1994 – Maiden Vintage

Rated best in South Africa by wine writers John Platter and Phyllis Hands

 

1993

First year of production of only 3000 bottles of Chardonnay

Wooded Chardonnay 1993 – Maiden Vintage

Chosen as the best SA Chardonnay by the tasting panel of the Oaks Wine of the Month Club

Nelson’s Creek Wine Label

Adjudged most innovative and appealing at the International Food and Wine exhibition in Thailand

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