Q&A with Nic van Aarde, Oldenburg Vineyards Winemaker

Nic van Arde is a WSET Level 3 graduate and winemaker at Oldenburg Vineyards. Nic shares with us how his wine journey started in tasting rooms and took him around the world, including India. He also shares how his WSET training has helped him in his career.


When did the wine bug bite?

I remember teasing my brother when he tried to be serious tasting wine. Little did I know that I would become the wine geek years later.

You’ve completed WSET training with The Wine Centre, what did you enjoy most about the course?

The interactive tastings and fun element to the course.

How has your WSET education helped you in your career?

I interact with international wine connoisseurs on a daily basis. WSET gave me the confidence to be able to talk world wine with them on a higher level.

Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a winemaker.

I grew up in Paarl with my Mom working for Nederburg. I helped out over school holidays in tasting rooms in the area. When I was studying Business and Commerce at Stellenbosch University I joined the University wine appreciation society and would skip business class to interact with winemakers and spend many afternoons driving around the winelands exploring new winery’s. This ended up with me taking the leap and studying winemaking and viticulture after.

You made wine in India for a while, what was that like?

India is either a country that you love or hate, no in-between. I fell in love with it and all its colorful chaos. I was exposed to the third world elements of interrupted power, water pollution, child labor and corruption but never the less managed to make some very drinkable wines. In the humid Nashik area where I consulted you would get two harvest a year but only one of the harvests grapes could be used for winemaking.

What has been your most memorable wine moment?

Two years ago I worked a harvest at Harlan Estate in Napa Valley. In quite times at the winery I would spend time walking the vineyards and here I got a taste of precision organic viticulture.

What advice would you give to aspiring winemakers?

Read up as much as you can on wine and travel extensively making and tasting wine. I do a study trip to a different foreign destination every year and come back motivated and inspired.

How can you inspire to make the best wine in the world if you have not tasted and spent time with its maker.