Waterford Estate is situated in one of the world’s most visually arresting pockets of paradise. Nestled in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, in the world renowned Stellenbosch region, this 120 hectare property owned by Jeremy and Leigh Ord and managed by partner and Cellar master Kevin Arnold. The Estate boasts old citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender and rosemary beds.  You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of Provence or the Spanish countryside, with your first glimpse of this enchanting realm. However, we are immensely proud of our uniquely South African location and the rich diversity of our indigenous flora and fauna.

The winery was styled along the engaging terracotta design and was the result of winemaker Kevin Arnold and architect Alex Walker teaming up to create the home of Waterford Estate wines. The centre piece of the magnificent courtyard is the Waterford Estate fountain. This feature has been immortalised in the Waterford Estate label and represents a fundamental component of our philosophy.

We believe in the old adage of ‘less is more’. There is nothing pretentious or ostentatious about the estate, rather the visual impact is one of a seamless whole, which complements rather than detracts from the surrounding natural beauty. Welcome to our world, a world where the passing of time and the change in seasons only add rich layers of character and charm to the scene.

The Winemaker

Mark Le Roux

Waterford Estate’s Mark Le Roux, has all the characteristics of a great winemaker: a healthy dose of talent, a willingness to experiment, and a great deal of passion and energy. Add a bit of luck, a good mentor in the form of Waterford Estate Cellar Master Kevin Arnold, and a viticulturist that’s also his closest friend, and you’re left with an award-winning combo.

Named Young Winemaker of the Year in the 6th annual Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report 2017 –and known for producing Platter 5-star-rated wines such as The Jem – Mark is a rising star in the South African wine industry, and perfectly complements Waterford Estate’s pioneering approach to winemaking.

Mark had his first brush with the estate while doing a practical at the winery over the 2005/2006 harvest season – a time during which he was still completing a BSc Agric (Oenology and Viticulture) degree at Stellenbosch University. After graduating, he worked as assistant winemaker at L’Ormarins and also completed a vintage at Etude Winery in California. In 2009, Mark was appointed assistant winemaker at Waterford Estate – a role that, in 2013, lead to his appointment as winemaker.

When asked where his love for winemaking stems from, Mark mentions his father and time spent outdoors on the family farm in Somerset-East. “My father studied forestry, and I think that’s where my initial love for the outdoors and nature started. The challenge of linking the soils and the environment to specific cultivars, and then to produce representing wine, is what I live for.”

At the moment, Mark produces a diverse range of wines from a total of 13 grape varieties grown on the estate, as well as grapes brought in from the Elgin Valley. He believes in a very natural, honest approach to winemaking and does thorough planning every year to produce wines that express the Waterford Estate terroir in an authentic way. “I also have a very open-minded, attention-to-detail approach to winemaking, with the desire to explore new grounds.”

The Viticulturist

David van Schalkwyk

Waterford Estate farm manager and viticulturist David van Schalkwyk, makes up one half of a powerful winemaking duo that has the local wine industry talking. Along with winemaker Mark le Roux, David tends to a diverse range of grape varieties grown on Waterford Estate, producing sought-after wines like The Jem.

After obtaining a Higher Certificate in Agriculture at Elsenburg Agricultural College (2004) and a Diploma in Wine Grapes (2005) at the Stellenbosch-based academy, David first worked as farm manager at Kromvlei in Nieuwoudtville, and later as farm manager at Bo La Motte in Franschhoek. At both farms, he gained valuable experience: first, in setting up vineyards on sites where vines hadn’t grown before, and later, in producing award-winning wines under the La Manoir de Brendel label.

David’s first introduction to the Waterford Estate family followed in 2008, when he was appointed assistant viticulturist. It was during this time that Mark and David first met, and a close friendship and partnership started to develop.

David’s next promotional step was to accept a position as farm manager at De Morgenzon in Stellenbosch. But, after two years at De Morgenzon, David was drawn into a family business outside of the wine industry. It was during this time that David started getting regular calls from Mark. “Mark had been trying to convince me to come back to Waterford Estate for some time,” David remembers. And so, in between flipping pizzas, David started consulting at Waterford Estate.

When Mark was appointed winemaker in 2013, David knew that the time had come for him to accept a permanent position again.

Part of the duo’s success is the fact that they share similar farming and winemaking philosophies. “We both believe in sustainable farming and winemaking methods, and our personalities really complement each other’s,” David says. “It’s all about making great wine under the Waterford Estate label and being as realistic and authentic as possible.”