Nelson Wine Estate is a family wine farm in every sense of the word where most of the members of the Nelson family are involved in the running of the business in one way or another.
Alan Nelson went to school in Johannesburg and then studied law at Stellenbosch University where he met Marguerite, the love of his life. Together they turned a dream into reality when they purchased the farm in 1987. It was then pretty run down but with the help of loyal staff and their children, every vine on the 130 hectare estate has been replaced, and a state of the art winery, three superb function venues and a lovely country lodge have been built on the estate. Three years ago Alan handed over the farming and winemaking business to his children Daniel and Lisha making it possible for him to pursue his passion for the law and especially mediation. Alan’s spare time is taken up carriage driving with his Friesian horses and he is currently developing Olympic standard facilities for hosting carriage driving competitions on the estate.
The vineyards on the Estate are managed by Lisha’s husband Petrus who joined the team on a full-time basis since 2011. Petrus is assisted by foreman Daantjie Jagman who took over from Solle Skippers when he retired a few years ago. Petrus and his team is a young and dedicated team that have blown new life into the farming side of the venture. Although the vineyards have never looked better, Alan and his good friend Sollie, who still lives with the Nelsons on the estate, are still keeping a watchful eye over them.
Alan’s daughter Lisha loves animals and farm life. She studied Oenology and Viticulture at Stellenbosch University , obtaining both a Bsc as well as an Msc degree cum laude. After completing two seasons with well-seasoned winemaker Mike Dobrovic, she spent another season at the Stone Street Winery in California. She was appointed as the new winemaker at the Nelson Wine Estate at the end of 2007. Lisha has an incredible dedication towards her work and to the reputation of the Estate and is becoming known as one of South Africa's best winemakers, a tag rightfully earned when regard is had to the excellent awards and reviews received on her wines since production started in early 2008. Lisha controls the purse strings, which she does with an iron fist. Her portfolio also included functions and accommodation facilities which are now brilliantly managed by Erina Wagenaar.
Erina has been with the Estate since 2011 and is for all intents and purposes regarded as a part of the Nelson famiy since she shares their commitment for honest hard work, dedication and the desire to give every person that comes to the Estate a truly memorable experience.
The Nelson's only son Daniel is a computer expert and ran his own computer business in Paarl for a number of years until his dad Alan asked him to help out on the family farm. Since then Daniel has had to turn his hand to almost every aspect of the family business. From administration, to taking care of the bottle maturation cellar, the labelling of the family wines, and attending to export clearances and dispatch. Daniel handed over his duties on the Estate to Lisha in 2014 and joined Alan on their new adventure of launching Mediation in Motion and the Nelson Peace Center - addressing audiences about mediation and training mediators. Daniel is also an avid motorcyclist and is most at home on his BMW 1200 GS carving it up on some dirt road out in the wilderness.
Then there is mother Marguerite. The kindest and loveliest of them all. Born and bred in the arid Karoo to a sheep farming family and having seen her family suffer when the rain stayed away, Marguerite vowed never to marry a farmer and went to Stellenbosch University to study medicine. There she met Alan, a city boy from Johannesburg, whose only goal in life it was to own a wine farm one day. Marguerite still practices medicine on a part time basis at the local Paarl hospital where she is dearly loved by patients and staff alike. The rest of the time she is at Alan's side and an incredibly important part of the farms management team. Hardly a decision gets taken on the Nelson Estate without the wisdom and insight of mother Marguerite having been sought out and applied. She can frequently be seen at exhibitions and shows proudly showing the family's wines with the sweetest of smiles on her face. As soon as they could afford it the Nelson's bought their first vineyard in Stellenbosch. It was only four hectares in extent but enough to make them sure that this was the life for them. Saving every penny that they earned the family in 1987 started to bring their plans to fruition when the family acquired Nelson's Creek. A huge amount of research went into buying the family farm. Weekend upon weekend Alan and Marguerite did the rounds with many agencies searching for the perfect farm. Alan's dream was to make the best wine in South Africa and after reading every book and article about wine that he could lay his hands on and travelling to other wine growing countries, he knew that terrior and micro climate were extremely important. With limited resources the farm also had to be close enough to Cape Town so that Alan could continue to practice law in order to earn enough money to develop the farm and to pay the bond. It also had to be suitable for equestrian activities.
Alan knew that he had found the right area when he learnt that Gunter Bröessel, surely South Africa's most well-known winemaker, had purchased a small farm in the Agter Paarl region in very close proximity to Nelson Creek. He also drew comfort from the fact that deeds office entries indicated that a part of the farm (originally named St Martin) was one of the first to have been selected in by the French Huguenots on which to farm wine grapes. The rest of the farm was previously called Wittenberg and it has an even more interesting history which is recorded under the “history” tab.
The Nelson's could however never at the time have known that the mini region in which their farm was located was destined to become one of, if not the very best region in the world for the production of wines of exceptional quality. Since acquiring the farm, grapes produced in the mini region in which Nelsons' Creek is located have achieved truly outstanding achievements, including being rated the best in the world on no less than three occasions in the past few years.