Andiswa Mapheleba – Pongrácz’s protégée winemaker

Andiswa Mapheleba – Pongrácz’s protégée winemaker

28 Jul 2020 

“Umzingisi akanashwa” (the one who perseveres has no misfortune) is a motto lived by the protégée winemaker for the internationally award-winning range of Pongrácz Méthode Cap Classiques. And her career to date is testament to a rich and rewarding future as a winemaker.

Born in the Transkei, Andiswa (29) grew up in East London and it was during her final Grade 12 year when she attended a conference hosted by Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), that her interest in winemaking was piqued.

“I was immediately drawn to winemaking because of my love for science and art, and the fact that I wanted to do something that was completely out of the ‘norm’. Since then, I’ve never looked back! It was a defining moment in my life and one that I am so grateful for.”

She completed her BSc Agriculture: Viticulture and Oenology degree at Stellenbosch University followed by a master’s degree in Wine Biotechnology, specialising in wine sensory and consumer research.

Her first position was an internship at Stellenzicht Vineyards where she conducted various winemaking and viticultural practices and experiments for her fourth academic year of Viticulture and Oenology. She then joined Nederburg Wines as assistant in barrel maturation and production at the end of 2018, before joining the Pongrácz team.

Now as the protégée winemaker of the range of wines made in the French tradition of secondary bottle fermentation, Andiswa says she is humbled to follow in the footsteps of past winemaker Elunda Basson.

“Prior to this, I had not been exposed to MCC wine production. I learnt so much in the time spent working with Elunda before she moved to another position. She taught me the fundamentals for MCC production, and her skills and knowledge are immaculate. In my day-to-day winemaking procedures, I constantly aim for quality by working with precision and passion – the ideals that I learnt from her.”

“I was raised by my mother who was an advocate for education and hard work, which is what I live by daily. I am ambitious, and strive for excellence and innovation in winemaking. Getting involved in ways to bridge the gap between the wine producer and the consumer is what I aim for. I would like to lead a beautiful merger of chemistry, creativity and the senses to bring more people closer to the wonderful world of wine.”

Andiswa strives for simplicity and elegance, a virtue that perfectly mirrors the elegant range of MCC’s she is now responsible for.

“MCC is multi-faceted but understated. It’s elegant and has just the right amount of richness that leaves you intrigued. Depending on the style, it consistently has the perfect balance between fruit and crispness. The mousse makes it even more memorable, without having to scream for so much attention.”

Andiswa attended the Viteff Sparkling Wine Symposium mid-October 2019 in Champagne, France, the international forum where discussions on the latest trends and technology are discussed amongst the most globally renowned producers of champagne and sparkling wine.