“I LET NATURE DO WHAT IT DOES BEST AND THEN REFINE THE RESULT”
Since being appointed winemaker of Uitkyk in October 2000, Estelle Lourens says she has gained tremendously in her understanding of what is needed to make great wines at Uitkyk, Stellenbosch.
Estelle began her career studying biophysics in preparation for cancer research, but she soon realised she didn’t want to spend her whole life in a laboratory, preferring to spend more time outdoors. Winemaking seemed the ideal choice, combining the outdoors, the laboratory and the cellar. Today she holds a degree in viniculture and viticulture from the University of Stellenbosch where she excelled, receiving the award for the best student in oenology and viticulture in her final year.
After exploring the wine regions of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and America, Estelle returned to South Africa in 1997. Her first appointment was as assistant-winemaker at Neethlingshof. The next year she moved to Stellenzicht, where she worked for three years..
A few years after accepting her present position at Uitkyk, Estelle married Ian Lourens, they have two children. She enjoys hiking and loves the outdoors to the extent where she seldom ventures into the city! Her love for nature is very apparent in Uitkyk’s sustainability initiatives which have led to Uitkyk recently being awarded championship status with the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI).
Sauvignon Blanc is Estelle’s favourite white varietal to work with because of the challenges it offers. Among the reds Cabernet Sauvignon is her favourite “because of subtlety and it expresses Uitkyk’s terroir the best”. With access to 12 cultivars planted on the estate, Estelle’s dream of “creating a wine that will have everyone talking” might soon find fulfilment.