The appointment of Lizelle Gerber as winemaker at Org de Rac brings a wealth of experience and an award-winning reputation to the cellar-team of the Swartland’s best-known organic wine farm.
Lizelle joins veteran Frank Meaker at the helm of exciting new developments at Org de Rac in the year in which the estate celebrates its 20 years of operation since founder, the late Nico Bacon, committed to pioneering organic wine farming on his Swartland farm.
Lizelle graduated from the famed Elsenburg Agriculture Institute and began to make her mark in the industry when joining Stellenbosch estate Zevenwacht in 1996. From there she moved onto Avontuur, as well as gaining working experience in the Alsace wine region in France.
During her tenure at the prestigious Boschendal Estate in Simondium Lizelle headed-up the white wine and Cap Classique operations, winning a plethora of accolades along the way, including for Best Producer at the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. Before joining Org de Rac Lizelle was cellarmaster at Nederburg, South Africa’s largest premium wine brand.
“I am tremendously looking forward to being a part of the Org de Rac team,” says Lizelle. “Winemaking begins in the vineyard, and what I have seen so far in my short time on Org de Rac is nothing but potential to continue on the journey envisaged by our GM Johan Gerber and Frank, which is to make Org de Rac the Cape’s finest organic winery. Organic farming is real farming, and the vines are showing the honest health and integrity one expects from natural farming practises. And the terroir, including red iron rich soils is totally unique – working for bigger corporate wineries I have had the chance to travel to most vineyard regions in the Cape, and Org de Rac is truly a unique patch of earth suited to making wines of originality and a specific character.”
Lizelle says that after the vineyards, team-work plays a major role in winemaking. “You are only as strong as your weakest link, so I regard team-work as of the utmost importance,” she says. “I really like the intimacy and hands-on approach of a smaller winery such as Org de Rac, and it is an honour working alongside Frank Meaker, one of the legends of the local wine industry. Among others, we both share a long-standing love of and record of success with Cap Classique, and I look forward to teaming-up and getting some great Cap Classiques and other wines out there.”
Johan says Lizelle’s track-record and experience, as well as her go-to attitude, will complement the Org de Rac team. “She has made her mark in the industry, but still has an enormous vision and ambition to create fine wines from various varieties,” he says. “This, plus her understanding of the local and international markets brings an invaluable asset to Org de Rac which is set to make her contribution a major part of the new chapter Org de Rac is busy writing.”