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Distell announces new head winemaker
Published:  31 October, 2017

Distell, the leading South African wine producer, has appointed a new head winemaker who is also a marketing specialist.

Niël Groenewald, with an MBA from University of Cape Town and a BSc Hons from Stellenbosch University, leaves Douglas Green Bellingham-owned Bellingham after 14 vintages as chief winemaker. In recent years, he was also responsible for the marketing of the brand.

"I love winemaking as much as I do the business of wine," said the 42-year-old.

In his new position he takes up ahead of the 2018 vintage, Groenewald will be overseeing the production of South Africa's largest wine portfolio.

The company's range extends from premium brands such as Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap and Alto, all the way through to mainstream offerings such as 4thStreet and Drostdy-Hof.

His focus will be on the high-end brands. Groenewald brings an exciting set of skills to the business, says Johan Venter, who leads Distell's Centre of Excellence: Intrinsic and to whom he reports.

"He has outstanding winemaking credentials and extensive experience in leading a top-performing team, but in addition, he brings a strong marketing sensibility, honed over years through his international exposure to South Africa's key trading partners.

“His special area of interest is on how best to apply business intelligence to capitalise on fast-changing consumer and other market dynamics. This makes him ideally placed to work in close concert with our refreshed new marketing team."

Before joining DGB in 2004, he worked stints at Neethlingshof and Seidelberg, as well as Perdeberg and Kango co-operative wineries.