The Rudera brand has had its ups and downs in recent times but finally seems to have a happy and potentially prosperous future ahead of it. It was founded by renowned winemaker Teddy Hall and wife Riana in 1999 but when they split, ownership fell to Riana and a succession of winemakers followed. Wines under the Rudera label remained of remarkably high quality but a perilous air hung over the endeavour…
Johan “Twana” Jansen van Vuuren, a leading businessman whose last project saw him and his co-founders sell Eland Platinum mine in the North West province to global diversified mining group Xstrata, bought Rudera in 2008, Riana staying on as a minority shareholder and executive manager.
Jansen van Vuuren, now ostensibly retired, nevertheless says that Rudera is more than a hobby. “Rewards in the wine industry are out of line with the alternatives – you can make good but not exceptional returns. My involvement with Rudera is to follow my passion for wine and take the brand to bigger heights”.
Rudera is now situated on the d’Olyfboom property, Napier Street, Paarl with winemaker Adele Swart installed as winemaker since January 2011. Swart did harvests with Teddy Hall when he was at Kanu in the first part of the previous decade and also has experience in California. She gave up winemaking briefly to go sailing but is now fully committed to the Rudera project.
Post a blessing of the harvest ceremony today, a chance to taste the current release wines. Stand-out was the De Tradisie Chenin Blanc 2009, from Stellenbosch grapes and as made by Jasper Raats, now at Longridge in Stellenbosch. On the nose, citrus, peach, burnt matchstick and some leesy character. The palate shows pure fruit, lemon-like acidity and carefully judged oak before a long, dry finish. A wine which manages to be both intellectually and emotionally satisfying. Score: 17/20.