Wine Trailblazer: Natasha Williams

“During my first harvest while I was still a student we were doing a pump-over on a shiraz tank and the cellar filled with the most pronounced white-pepper aroma. At that moment, suddenly winemaking made sense to me,” shared Natasha Williams on what lit the flame for her.

Since those early days 30-year-old Natasha has been busy. She graduated from Stellenbosch University with a degree in Oenology and after completing a six-month internship at Jordan Winery, she joined the Bosman Family Vineyards winemaking team in 2014. She also completed a harvest in California.

Natasha is now the winemaker for Bosman Adama (a multi-ownership business situated in Wellington). She also has her own brand, Lelie van Saron, which is named after the small, rural town Saron where she grew up, an area known for its table grape production and citrus orchards.

“The project focusses on cool climate sites and varieties such as chardonnay and syrah, made in a natural style with grapes from the Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley,” she explained.

Growing up her parents instilled a work ethic in her. “I have always looked up to my parents. They manifested the importance of education and self-development. From an early age it was clear that nothing comes to the ones just waiting around and that perseverance will pay off in the end.”

Though now she is reaping the rewards of her hard work, it hasn’t always been easy.  

“One of the most challenging times was in my final year of studies. We had to find a placement at a cellar for a six month internship. It wasn’t easy, but I persevered. I tried to learn from every experience and to keep my head up high. I realised I had to change the perception people had of me and of what I’m capable of.”

And she’s been honing her skills ever since. In 2018 to broaden her horizons she went on a trip to France. “I love that wine has the ability to connect people from all over the world. I met amazing people and winemakers that have been influential in my wine journey. It also opened my eyes to how cultures can influence wine styles and vice versa.”

Here at home she is equally inspired by winemakers who have played a mentorship role in her life. She cites Corlea Fourie, Head of Wine and Viticulture at Bosman Family Vineyards, as having played an instrumental role in her development as both a person and a winemaker.

“I admire her in-depth knowledge of the business as well as her tenacity and finesse in the workplace.”

Andrea Mullineux likewise inpires her with: “…her fearlessness and approach to natural wines as well as her determination in business and willingness to share knowledge is admirable.”

When it comes to winemaking she says she strives to make wines that are ‘elegant and honest with a pure reflection of the terroir.’ While chardonnay and syrah are her kingpins, she also loves to drink cinsault as much as she enjoys making it.

“The Bosman Twyfeling Cinsaut has made me very proud. The 2017 vintage received a 5-star rating Platter’s as well as best Cinsaut of the Year. While the 2018 vintage put me in the running for the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year in 2020.”

At Bosman Adama she has been there from the very beginning. “I was one of the first members to get involved and I ran the day-to-day activities up until Praisy Dlamini joined the team as general manager and winemaker.”

She shared that since 2016 a selection of the vineyards have been in conversion to organics.

“We are now excited to offer the newly released Bosman Adama White 2020. It is our first certified organic white wine blend comprised from grenache blanc and old vine chenin blanc from the Wellington property. Bosman Adama also had its first harvest in the Voor Paardeberg area this year.”

When not filling cellars with the scent of white pepper, you can find the self-confessed introvert at home in her garden planting herbs in her veggie patch. Or at the stove with a glass of wine cooking something delicious.

Open her fridge and you’ll find other South African favourites such as Mullineux & Leeu wines, David & Nadia, Newton Johnson and Brunia, all wines that inspire her.

“It’s a great time to be a part of the South African wine industry. There is constant development and progression. The quality of our wines improves as we get more international recognition for our work.”

Any advice for young winemakers starting out? “Be humble, stay positive and just be yourself.”



- Blog by Malu Lambert