Delheim wine estate has appointed a new, young and dynamic assistant winemaker to complete its award-winning team under Roelof Lotriet. The 26-year-old Nongcebo “Noni” Langa will commence her tenure upon completion of an internship in California that was facilitated by Delheim. She’ll be spending time at the family-owned Dry Creek Vineyard.
Noni joined the winery earlier this year as an intern and was formally appointed ahead of her trip to the US – her first overseas. A graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, she graduated with an MSc in Oenology in December last year.
“We’re very excited about Nongcebo becoming part of the team,” says Victor Sperling of Delheim. “We see social development and upliftment as an extension of our holistic approach to winemaking. Empowering all our staff and helping them improve their skill sets has always been a priority close to our hearts.”
Nongcebo had no background in wine-growing up in Pietermaritzburg as the eldest of five children. Her interest was piqued, however, when she attended a high school presentation by the Department of Agriculture which mentioned winemaking as a profession.
A few years later she was part of a ground-breaking project on global warming and wildfires led by Dr. Marianne McKay at the University of Stellenbosch. This led to her thesis covering the Amelioration of Smoke Taint on wines by using commercially available and legally permissible products and exploring their efficiency at different dosage levels.
“The climate changes experienced in many parts of the world have led to an increase in incidences of wildfires and it has been predicted that these events will become more prevalent over time. All fires release volatile compounds into the atmosphere and if they occur near vineyards where grapes are ripening, smoke taint may be detected in wines made from these grapes,” explains Nongcebo. In 2016 Delheim lost 95% of their pine forest and many vines on the farm during the devastating Simonsberg fire.
In her new position, Nongcebo is assistant winemaker to Lotriet, along with Nelson Buthelezi.