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Unstoppable women: Winemaker Nadia Barnard’s date with destiny

Find out how Nadia Barnard is flourishing as a winemaker in a male-dominated industry…

Winemaker Nadia Barnard
Winemaker Nadia Barnard Image: Supplied

Winemaker Nadia Barnard is one of many women showing they are a force to reckoned with in South Africa’s winemaking industry.

Nadia says working in the male-dominated industry has its challenges but her male counterparts are always helpful. 

“Life is what you make of it. I have never had any issues in the industry because I am a woman. The men are very kind and always willing to help. I thoroughly enjoy working in the industry,” she said in a statement.

So, who makes the better wines between the gender? The verdict is still out on that one, but Nadia says women bring a different touch to winemaking. 

“I have always felt that wines made by women do show a sense of finesse and elegance. We do like to smell and appreciate lovely smells from a young age which helps to improve our senses, I believe that this is definitely to our advantage as a female winemaker!”

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Nadia, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (BSc Agric) specialising in viticulture and oenology, says her winemaking philosophy is one of minimal intervention.

“Fine wine is made in the vineyards. Just apply meticulous care and guidance and you can just let the wine make itself,” she said in a statement.

The Stellenbosch University graduate is now a winemaker at Somerset West’s award-winning Waterkloof estate.

“A combination of destiny and good judgement brought me to the wine industry and ultimately to Waterkloof and it is here where I have learned the true aspects of quality vines and wines and realised that to live and work in harmony with nature is to acknowledge, respect and promote its intrinsic value,” she said in a statement.

Nadia’s journey to becoming a winemaker at Waterkloof started as an assistant nine years ago.

“I have been here since the cellar opened its doors in 2009, working first as an assistant winemaker before being promoted, and I can truly say that I know every square inch of vineyard on the farm like the back of my hand, and the amazing potential that lies within them.”


Her eclectic training as a winemaker has seen her working and interning at some of the top Cape and international wineries, including an internship at Vergelegen Estate and a stint at Flagstone Winery.

Nadia will be showcasing some of her wines at the Women of Wine South Africa (WoWSA) Festival taking place at the Candlewoods Boutique Venue in Centurion on Sunday, August 12.


“One of the wines which I am very excited to show is our Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2017. This is one of our organic wines which comes from a beautiful site on the Schapenberg – the perfect area for the varietal. It was naturally fermented in older 600L barrels and was left on the lees for more than a year. I will also be showing the Waterkloof Circle of Life Red 2015; Waterkloof Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc 2017 and Waterkloof Circumstance Merlot 2015 at WoWSA,” she said. 

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