JULIAN JOHNSEN – MANAGING DIRECTOR
Julian Johnsen, who was born and educated in England, studied agriculture at The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester (1984-1987). Julian went to work on a wine farm in South Africa’s Cape winelands for a year, where he was captivated by the beautiful landscape, and everything involved in making wine.
In 1990, Julian emigrated to South Africa and bought his first farm in the Boland in the Wellington district, Kleinleeuwentuin, where he produced his first wine in 1993. Since then, Julian has produced a vintage every year, winning numerous awards and accolades, among them two Veritas gold medals for the 2002 and 2004 Bowwood Cabernet-Sauvignon-Merlot blends (a joint venture with Bruce Jack of Flagstone).
In 2002 in partnership with Armajaro Holdings he bought Vondeling farm in the Voor Paardeberg and oversaw the renovation and replanting of the estate He has been Managing Director ever since.
MATTHEW COPELAND – WINEMAKER
Matthew Copeland was born and educated locally in Paarl, Western Cape, where he first developed an interest in the wine industry. He studied at Elsenburg Agricultural College, where he completed his diploma with a distinction in winemaking. He later honed his skills abroad, working in the top wine regions of Switzerland, France, California, Australia and New Zealand. On his return to South Africa, he helped design and build the cellar at Welbedacht in Wellington, owned by ex-Springbok rugby player Schalk Burger. The first wines he made there were internationally recognised, with two class winners at the London International Wine & Spirits Competition 2006 for his Bordeaux-style red blend, The Cricket Pitch 2003, and Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2005. Locally, he has also been selected as top of the class for his Pinotage and again for his Bordeaux-style red blend. He can also boast several gold and silver awards from the Michelangelo International Awards as well as the Veritas Awards.
In 2007, he took over the winemaking portfolio at Vondeling. What drew him to the Voor-Paardeberg was the perfect mix of complex granite-derived soils with just the right amount of clay for dry land farming, and the unique southern aspect of the slopes on the farm. He has continued to make exceptional award winning wines at Vondeling.