A great bottle of wine is like a work of art. From the moment the liquid touches your lips you experience a range of sensations. The superb flavours, the smooth feeling as it goes down, that slight tingle all over your body…

Winemakers who create good wines are the architects of these sensations. If it were not for their passion, precision and dedication to the craft, we would be deprived of this whole body experience. The Franschhoek Cellar has secured three incredible winemakers who have put their range of wines on the map. The next time you pick up a bottle of Franschhoek Cellar wine, remember these names:

Niël Groenewald


Over three centuries ago, vines were planted along the slopes of the Drakenstein Mountains. This was the beginning of Bellingham Wines. Niël Groenewald is the winemaker who is continuing this legacy. His objective for the wine is to be daringly unique and extraordinary appealing. Originally from Namibia, Niël went to Stellenbosch University to pursue his interest in wine.

Niël believes that winemaking is a science and he works hard to understand every aspect of the product to make the best possible wine.

Regarding his wine philosophy Niël says: “It is one of minimal interference; I like to just set the conditions for a perfect fermentation. My analogy for winemaking is that it’s the same as making a gourmet omelette. You break all the eggs separately, check that they are not damaged and then start putting the dish together. I ferment in the smallest possible containers, check that everything has gone smoothly and then start blending.”

Richard Duckitt


When you think modern, up-front, fruity wines, you think Brampton Wines. Richard Duckett is the winemaker responsible for this lifestyle wine. He graduated from Elsenburg College in Stellenbosch, with a Diploma in Viticulture and Cellar Technology, and has worked in Stellenbosch, California and Bordeaux.

His love for tasting and experimenting coupled with high standards drives him to create unique combinations that is perfect for the Brampton brand. While he appreciates other wine regions in the world, he is happy to be working here:

“If I had to work anywhere else in the world but here, it would definitely be Sonoma in California. It’s a very exciting place to live and work, and the terroir is excellent and quite similar to what we have here. On the other hand, I love the old traditions of Spain and Italy. It would be a very difficult choice and thankfully one I don’t have to make. I’m happy right here!”

JD Rossouw


The Franschhoek Cellar wines falls to JD Rossouwthe newest member of the team. While he may be new to the cellar, he has plenty of experience behind him. He graduated with a BScAgric in Viticulture and Oenology from Stellenbosch University, interned at Larkmead Vineyards in Napa, USA and has worked as a winemaker in Stellenbosch and Paarl before moving to Franschhoek.

He loves working with Chenin Blanc and Shiraz as they are very diverse varieties. Attention to detail is the most important rule in his winemaking philosophy. He adores his job, but when he is not working, he loves to be outdoors:

“I love active sports that get your adrenalin pumping, like sky-diving and zip-lining. In quieter moments I enjoy reading books by leading South Africa authors like Wilbur Smith and Deon Meyer. My perfect Saturday would be playing a round of golf and ending it off around the braai with friends – with a glass or two of wine, of course!”

When Monday – Thursday 10 am – 6 pm, Fridays 10 am – 9 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 6 pm, Sundays 10 am – 5 pm
Where The Franschhoek Cellar, R45, Franschhoek Main Road, Franschhoek Valley
Contact +27 21 876 2086, [email protected], www.thefranschhoekcellar.co.za

Photography courtesy

Article written by


We love this place! Cape Town Etc features news, reviews, entertainment and lifestyle in the Mother City.