Wine Image Large

Luddite Shiraz

Some people describe Luddite Shiraz as Niels Verburg contained in a glass; Niels is six foot four and his smile is the embodiment of a warm embrace.

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 and chaotic, but they had great fruit and passion and I’d never seen that quality of wine”, he explains.

“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.”

Wine Image Large

Luddite Chenin

Chenin Blanc is a grape close to the Luddites’ heart, so they couldn’t resist making their own. Luddite Chenin 2012 was their first vintage.

The Luddite Chenin is a real ‘push the boat out’ wine. Niels wanted to express the nature of Chenin Blanc in the Bot River area, and batches of free run juice and pressed juice were put in barrels without settling and allowed to ferment naturally. He also did a batch of fermentation on skins with regular punch downs.

Old barrels allowed the natural grape expression to come through, and no sulphur was added to allow the wine to develop its own characteristics without any intervention. The Luddites feel by doing this they have allowed the wine to express exactly the direction it wanted to go.

Wine Image Large

Saboteur Red

2009 was the maiden vintage of the Saboteur Red. This was an exciting year for the Luddites. It was the year they used their own cellar for the first time and the first year that all the grapes were sourced from the Bot River valley. It was also the first time that a second wine was bottled to join the Luddite Shiraz.

Weather wise it was up and down promising to be a very cool vintage but ultimately ending quite hot. They picked over a full month which had never happened before. This produced a wine that was bold but had the resultant spice of a cooler vintage.

All the different clones and varietals were fermented in small batch open fermenters and the wines were pressed into tank to undergo malolactic fermentation. The three varietals were then kept separate in 100% New French oak for 24 months.

In true Luddite fashion there was no rush with the blending process. It took 5 months before Niels felt that he had the correct blend to create the best possible wine - 55% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Mourvédre.

In 2015 a Saboteur White was released to match the Saboteur Red. It was also the year that Niels would shake things up a bit and bottle quality wine with a crown cap. The packaging for the Saboteur range was redesigned – so beautifully and with such inspiration that it won a Loerie for packaging design!

Wine Image Large

Saboteur White

2015 was the maiden vintage of the Saboteur White blend, created to partner the successful Saboteur Red blend.

Niels set out to make a white blend that was both serious and refreshing.  It’s a Chenin Blanc blended with Viognier and Blanc Fumé and a dash of Chardonnay. And it turns out that this new wine, with its new closure and new packaging, was an excellent tribute to the Saboteurs…it sold out within 3 days.

The Verburgs dry-farm their grapes which means that the wines truly reflect their terroir and can result in the vintages being slightly different. Although the blends varied in 2016 and 2017, the vintages have lived up to the precedent set by the maiden vintage and have received great reviews (and excellent sales!).

Drink them and be inspired!