Vines firmly rooted in the Breede River Valley, Lozärn Wines are meticulously crafted on Doornbosch farm by winemaker Salóme Buys-Vermeulen.
The wines are created to honour the Smuts family matriarch and boasts the first farm in South Africa to produce 100% single vineyard Carménère – a Chilean varietal. The new farm in Bonnievale now produces a unique maiden range including a 100% single vineyard Carménère, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Carménère Rose and a special Kay’s Legacy.
Winemaker Salóme is excited at the prospect of a new varietal in the wine industry, a task she has taken on with vigour and grace.
In the spirit of Women’s Month, we chatted to the pioneer winemaker about her journey into the industry thus far… here’s what she had to say.
Q: Is there a woman in the wine industry who you admire, who has help shape your journey into winemaking?
A: There are definitely a few I admire. It’s wonderful to see women making their mark in this industry. I started to doubt my choice in Grade 11, and my music teacher brought me a copy of SARIE to school one day. It featured women winemakers and their stories. I’ll never forget Ivy du Toit’s (Jasosnhill) aura, it shined through the pages and her words. She was so young at the time, I was inspired to think that I could also achieve my dream and goals as a young woman, if I was passionate to pursue this career, and so I did… 10 years down the road.
Q: What does it take to be a successful woman winemaker in South Africa, have you encountered any obstacles?
A: I think it is the same for any winemaker, male or female. Honesty and hard work can take you far in life. I’ve learned to stay true to my heart as much as to our terroir. Sometimes it’s more a matter of balancing family life and work.
Q: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming young women who would like a career in this industry?
A: Follow your heart. If you are not scared to work long hours and to use a few muscles – believe me the reward is great. To be outdoors in the vineyards during day, having our kids in and around the cellar always curious to see what happening, is a pure blessing. And at the end of the day you get to bottle a year’s hard work and enjoy it for many years to come.
Q: At what point in your career did you know this was all you wanted to do?
A: Well the career choice seemed like a perfect combination of what I love; being creative, be very detailed and specific. It’s also a great combination of science and nature, and seemed like the perfect match.
At first I thought I’ll peruse something closer to my dad’s career, he is an architect. But I was intrigued by my brother’s Stellenbosch stories and friends with wine farms – it sounded like my kind of lifestyle.
At the end of 2008 I completed my B-Agric in winemaking and viticulture at Elsenberg and so the journey began – from Tulbagh, to Darling, to New Zealand, and finally to Bonnievale – where I got this amazing opportunity to be part of developing this beautiful new brand; Lozärn for the Smuts family.
Pictures: Facebook/Lozarn Wines