Formerly a part of the wine farm Stellenrust, Waterford winery was purchased in 1998 by two families, brought together under the name Waterford Wines Ltd. This company was made up of Kevin and Heather Arnold, and Jeremy and Leigh Ord. The Ords purchased the farm, and continue to own it, while the Arnolds carefully planned the new vineyards, and designed the winery. The estate is located in the Blaauwklippen Valley, overlooked by the blue cliffs that give the valley its name, and close to Stellenbosch, the wine capital of South Africa. The estate is around 120 acres, with planted vineyards, lavender beds, citrus orchards, and a number of water-based features. All of this means that the estate is at the very high-end of wine producing and is dedicated to creating top-quality wines.
The owners of Waterford believe that they are not just creating a bottle of wine, or a particular style of wine, but living a wine-making life: looking out for potentials, continuing the traditions of the past, and creating a future for the next generation. The ‘Waterford Way’ is intended to celebrate the good things in life, such as money, food, good company and, of course, wine. Anyone travelling to the farm is invited to share in this philosophy, and enjoy the good things that the Waterford estate has to offer. This very simple ideal is at the heart of everything that Waterford winemakers do.
The whole theme of the estate is about the creation of a perfect living environment, for man, beast and vines. For example, the winery itself was not just built up over time, or made in an afternoon by a local builder, but was created by an architect, and formed out of the nearby bedrock, along with old stones from the vineyards, and wood grown on the Waterford estate itself. These are designed to ensure that the whole building looks natural, and almost as part of the landscape as the blue cliffs of the valley. One of the important features of the design was the Waterford fountain, now used on the wine labels, and symbolising the philosophy which drives the people at Waterford.
The two families still work together on the farm, and the Arnolds live on the farm, while the Ords are regular visitors, enjoying their stays as much as the Arnolds do. To keep friendships together while working in a business together is sometimes hard, but the two families of Waterford are united and passionate about the future of their wine estate.
It is the production of wines which is behind that passion, and something which has gone to make the whole wine farm seem deeply committed to producing the best wine possible. They offer a number of speciality wines, including The Jem, which is a red wine blend named after Jeremy Ord. It is made from a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Mouvédre, Barbera and Sangiovese. The wine is essentially dry, with a great deal of structure, and a firm body.