Some people describe Luddite Shiraz as Niels Verburg contained in a glass; Niels is six foot four and when he smiles appears to be beaming an embrace in your direction.
As a young winemaker traveling the world Niels confirmed his love for Shiraz when working a harvest in Australia but it was a winery in Chile that inspired his wine-making method, ‘It was as if I’d gone back 20 years, it was ramshackle, chaotic but they had great fruit and passion and I’d never seen that quality of wine.’
‘The nitty gritty of good winemaking is to have good grapes, good yeast and good barrels,’ says Niels, ‘Being hi-tech and cutting edge isn’t important to me. When you go into a winery and see the centrifuges and reverse osmosis, it’s like going into the kitchen of a top restaurant and seeing a microwave, you think “Hey, that’s not right”.’
Luddite Shiraz 2000 was the Luddite’s first vintage. ‘There’s been an improvement every year,’ says Niels. ‘The ultimate goal would be a perfect wine but of course that doesn’t exist.’
Because Chenin Blanc is a grape close to the Luddites’ heart they couldn’t resist making their own and Luddite Chenin 2012 is the first vintage.