In 2000, Berene Sauls started working as an au pair for the four children of winemaker, Anthony Hamilton Russell, of Hamilton Russell Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
Working so closely with the family gave Anthony an insight to her potential and invited her to assist the company’s marketing manager.
The next 12 months saw Berene move into a position within the team involving the export and labelling of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards’ wines.
Whilst working on the administrative side of the business, Berene became very interested in the winemaking aspect. It's only natural to become inquisitive as to how this amazing juice ends up in the bottle after all!
In 2002 Berene signed up for her first harvest. She caught the bug and continued to assist every year looking to develop her skills further.
It was in 2014 that an opportunity arose that would take Berene into the winemaking arena. Her long term boss, Anthony Hamilton, offered to help her set up her own label so she could produce her own wine.
With Berene growing up in a small village called Tesselaarsdal, 24km north of Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, it was fitting to honour her history and family legacy by naming her wines after this.
She chose to start with a Pinot Noir as she had been working with this variety from the beginning of her journey with Hamilton Russell. Pinot is very much suited to the climate of Hemel-en Aarde-Valley
With a focus on Pinot Noir and with Burgundy being a standard reference point for the Hemel-en-Aarde, she naturally followed with Chardonnay.
You live wine, it's not just a vocation. From the Vineyards to the cellar and the office, Berene worked them all. She has been the inspiration we all want to hear about and she is producing the wine we all want to taste.
Being mentored almost exclusively by Emul Ross, the very knowledgeable winemaker of Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Berene has been under invaluable tutelage and has received amazing reviews:
Greg Sherwood, a Master of Wine, referred to it as the “next South African Pinot Noir icon”, and it was awarded five stars in the John Platter South African Wine Guide.
93+/100 – MW Greg Sherwood - Tesselaarsdal Pinot noir 2017
95/100 – MW Tim Atkin SA report - Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2017
91/100 - Neal Martin US – Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2017
94/100 – MW Tim Atkin SA report - Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2018
94/100 – Christian Eedes – Wine Magazine SA Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2018
92/100 – MW Tim Atkin SA report - Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay 2019
93/100 – MW Greg Sherwood Tesselaarsdal -Chardonnay 2019
Damon Quinlan of SWIG.co.uk referred "The wine is looking beautiful, even in the short time since we first tasted it it's taken on a bit of weight and shows a lovely balance between power, freshness and spice. it's a great effort ……" And honoured to have it listed at some of South Africa’s top restaurants such La Colombe, Greenhouse, Aubergine and Overture.
Currently, Berene exports 40% of her wine to Europe, the UK and the US, and the remaining 60% is sold locally.
This enterprising winemaker also hopes to one day own her “very own vineyard in Tesselaarsdal” where she intends building a cellar and tasting room.
We hope you enjoy these wines...