Meet the visiting winemakers of the 2012 MidAtlantic Food + Wine Feast:
Stellekaya Winery, South Africa
Ntsiki Biyela was born and raised in a remote village in KwaZulu, Natal. Until she won a winemaking scholarship in 1998, she had never tasted wine or seen a grape. Today she is one of the best-known winemakers in South Africa. Her blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage have won gold medals and four-star ratings for Stellekaya Winery.
Chateau Tanunda, Australia
Two wines from Chateau Tanunda were among five awarded five stars by Decanter Magazine in 2011. Wine Spectator ranked one of their wines 33rd in the 2011 Top 100 Wines of the World, and fourth of the Top 100 Value Wines of the World in 2011. Lauren came to the U.S. in November, 2011 after spending two years at Chateau Tanunda to become its Brand Ambassador in America.
Bodegas Muga, Spain
“Manu” is a third-generation winemaker and vice president of Bodegas Muga, his family business in the world-famous Rioja Alta region of Spain. Bodegas Muga, one of the oldest and most elegant winemakers in Rioja, is also one of the most traditional. Manu oversees an artisanal approach to winemaking, controlling every step of the process, including cooperage.
Weingut Schloss Lieser, Germany
The Haag family has tended vines on the Mosel River for more than four centuries, and Thomas’ brother is the proprietor of Fritz Haag Estate, perhaps the most respected name in German wines. Now it is Thomas’ turn to enhance the family name as he directs the fortunes of Weingut Schloss Lieser, which he acquired in 1997 after serving five years as manager and cellar master.
Sandra Tavares da Silva
Wine & Soul Portugal
Sandra Tavares da Silva is the highly talented winemaker at Vale Dona Maria, considered by many to define Portugal’s New Douro generation. In addition, Sandra and her husband and winemaking partner, Jorge Serodio Borges, own a small winery, Wine & Soul, that produces high scoring wines, including Pintas, Character and Guru.
Willamette Valley Vineyards, Oregon, USA
Named “One of the Great Pinot Noir Producers” by Wine Enthusiast, Jim Bernau’s Willamette Valley Vineyards has made some of the highest rated wines in the world. His Pinot Noir has been served at the James Beard House and the White House. Jim’s leadership and environmental stewardship earned him the wine industry’s highest honor, the Founder’s Award.