After completing high school at the age of 19, Berene Sauls’ began her adult life as an au pair, looking after the kids of one of South Africa’s most prominent winemakers. Sixteen years later, Berene is well on her way to becoming one of the country’s most prominent winemakers. Her first release, a Pinot Noir, received great acclaim from the top wine masters in the country and is listed as a wine of choice in South Africa’s best restaurants.
Berene grew up in a small village called Tesselaarsdal in Hermanus, in a community descendent from freed khoi slaves that had fought several governments to hold on to their land.
After becoming an au pair in 2001, Berene quickly worked her way into an administrative position on the wine farm, where she developed and knowledge and skills related wine exports, labelling and wine storage. She then began to learn about the process of growing the grapes and creating the wine. She eventually made her way into the position of export manager.
After it was realized that she had the potential to become a master winemaker, she was offered the opportunity to produce her own wine. She then chose to start with a Pinot Noir because the climate and soil type made this the best choice. In honour of her background, she named her wine brand, Tesselaarsdal.
After the release of her first wine in 2015, the demand was overwhelming and the wine was quickly sold out. Wine critics have hailed her first Pinot noir as “beautiful”, “powerful”, spicy, “fresh”, “aromatic”, “silky”, “supple”, elegant and “brilliant”. The Master of Wine, Greg Sherwood, referred to it as the “next SA Pinot noir icon” and it was rated 5 Stars in the John Platter Wine Guide. Tesselaarsdal Pinot noir is listed as a wine of choice in several top restaurants in South Africa, the UK, USA and The Netherlands.
In her spare time, she loves spending time with her husband and two sons, and she likes participating in extreme activities like bungee jumping. Her next goal is to produce a quality Chardonnay, expand her brand into other international markets, and purchase a property for Pinot noir planting. She will be releasing her 2016 vintage later this month.