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Fiona Bührer

Proprietor

Fiona is the second-generation Bührer Family custodian of Saxenburg Wine Estate, together with her brother Vincent. She was both born in Switzerland but spent most of her childhood at Saxenburg with their three siblings. Inevitably Saxenburg had woven itself into her DNA.

“My life consists of Saxenburg moments, as the owner of the brand, I live and breathe Saxenburg and what truly motivates me are the Saxenburg moments. When I taste through the different wine barrels with our Winemaker and proudly see the creation and blending of the new Vintage of our Private Collection Syrah, a true Saxenburg moment. When we have a team lunch and everyone enjoys a glass of Saxenburg around the braai and shares stories and laughter. These moments are hidden everywhere but they make this profession truly meaningful and special.”

Brendan Smith

Head Winemaker

With a passion for Syrah and an MSc in Oenology, Brendan Smith is the Winemaker of Saxenburg. His philosophy is “to create wines of consistent quality” and strives to deliver a wine that reflects a sense of place in every bottle. He studied a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University and went on to do his MSc in Oenology for which he achieved the “Cum Laude” distinction.

“My Saxenburg moment starts in the vineyards where every great wine begins. To walk amongst the vines, with views of Robben Island and Table Mountain and a fresh breeze guiding you on, is a privilege. With hard work and a bit of nurturing this moment begins to take form in the cellar until finally, the moment gets bottled. With the Saxenburg seal of approval, these moments are offered to all who drink a glass of Saxenburg.

Donovan Diedericks

Viticulturist

Donovan was born in Sasolburg in the Free State, and at a young age, they moved to Wellington in the Boland. He has always been surrounded by vineyards and saw the tractors with all the grapes making their way to the cellars during harvest time when he was growing up. This sparked an interest in him, and being someone who loves spending time in nature, he knew that was what he wanted to do. He has been in the agricultural sector for 29 years, most of it being in Viticulture, which is his passion.

Donovan joined the Saxenburg team in 2008, and he is still passionate about the farm since the day he started.

“My Saxenburg moment is when I see someone opens a bottle of Saxenburg wine and know I played a part in creating a Saxenburg moment for them.”

Kyle Zulch

National Sales Manager

His passion for wine started at a very young age – long before I was able to enjoy a glass. It was on a trip to the Cape Winelands at the age of 14, that he simply fell in love with the art of winemaking and farming as a whole. Fast forward a few years, to 2005, after a year of Business Management studies at Tuks in Pretoria, his hometown, he packed his bags and headed for the Winelands – in the pursuit of his winemaking and farming career. He quickly fell in love with life at Elsenburg (Cape Institute for agricultural training) and enveloped himself with all things wine and agriculture, focusing on wine production, viticulture, and pomology.

“It was at the start of my ‘investment’ wine collecting passion project that I was on the hunt for my first bottle of ultra-premium South African wine. I was heading back from the Cape Town wine route towards Stellenbosch, when I realised, I was going to be passing by Saxenburg. Knowing the history of the estates Shiraz, and Shiraz being my favourite varietal, I made a very quick turn into the Estate; somewhat knowing I was in for something special. After a tasting of the wines, it was as clear as day, that I had found what I was looking for… My first South African Investment wine – THE Saxenburg Shiraz Select 2003.”

Mandy Clayton

Financial Manager

Mandy was born in Cape Town to a German mother and a South African father. She is a sibling to 2 sisters. She found her passion for numbers early on in her career. She obtained her qualification in Bookkeeping and Financial Accounting. Mandy joined the Saxenburg team in March 2018 and has poured her knowledge and passion into her role as Finance Manager since then. Mandy is the mother of 2 girls and enjoys spending time with her family. She loves to spend time outdoors, taking her dog for scenic walks, and enjoying the tranquillity of nature.

“I experienced a true Saxenburg moment when I shared a celebratory glass of the smooth MCC with my family for my 40th birthday. I had a long moment of reflection on where I’ve come from and what I’d achieved in my life up to that day. I now look forward to the years ahead, sharing more achievements with my family, and celebrating with the Saxenburg wines.”

Zandria Nel

Marketing & Communications Manager

Alongside Zandria’s marketing background, she holds a degree in Medical Science, which led her to further explore the fascinating realms of Neuroscience Coaching and Neuroscience Training (with distinction), achieving both certifications from the University of Pretoria. With a love for learning and growing, she further expanded her knowledge with a qualification in 3D/4D Fetal Scanning and more recently, completed her WSET Level 1 certificate in wines.

“Before my husband and I moved to Cape Town, my family surprised us with a farewell braai. We were all sitting outside sipping on a glass of Guinea Fowl Red. I will never forget proudly holding that bottle of wine in my hand, knowing that I will soon get to be part of the Saxenburg team. It was a beautiful, bittersweet moment of sharing in my new journey with the ones I love most- a moment I will never forget.”

Brian Botes

Maintenance Manager

Brian Botes was born in KwaZulu-Natal. He moved to Gordon’s Bay, Cape Town, in 2016. Brian has worked at Saxenburg Wine Estate in our Maintenance Department for 8 years and assists with our wine deliveries and exports. His passion is working with and helping people, and he pours his heart into making sure our farm is in a pristine condition.

“I experienced my Saxenburg moment 6 years ago when my first grandchild was born. I flew down to KwaZulu-Natal to meet her for the first time and took a bottle of our Saxenburg MCC with. We popped the bottle of MCC on one of the evenings I was visiting to celebrate her and my daughter. She is my pride and joy.”

Michaela van der Straaten

Western Cape Ambassador

Born and bred in Cape Town, Michaela has fond memories of family visits to estates in the winelands. Her passion for wine grew during her time studying at Stellenbosch University. She has worked with several esteemed estates in most of the wine regions throughout her career, having held positions in sales and liaising with private clients. Her love for working with people in the trade and the wine industry has been a great experience as it is a very dynamic field. She looks forward to continuing her work with Saxenburg Wine Estate and creating more Saxenburg Moments with our thought-provoking wines.

“My Saxenburg moments are when I am conversing and tasting the Saxenburg wines with the customers.  It is great to see the delight on their faces when they taste the wines and knowing that when they leave, they have a new understanding and appreciation for the Saxenburg wines.”

Charné Finch

Administration Assistant

Charné Finch was born in Cape Town and is passionate about problem-solving and working with people. She joined our Saxenburg team in October, in her role as our Administration Assistant.

“I bought a bottle of Guinea Fowl Chenin Blanc 2022 and took it along to a catch-up with my friends. It was so relaxing to enjoy a glass of wine that was made on the farm where I work. We all enjoyed chatting about the wine and I told them all about my first week working on the Saxenburg farm. It was so significant to me being in an exciting new chapter of my life but getting to enjoy it in a glass with old friends. This must be my favourite Saxenburg moment.”

Jacqueline Sauer

Tasting Room Manager

Originally from Germany where she studied hotel management, Jacqueline moved to South Africa in 2014. She is an absolute animal lover, enjoys mountain biking in the Winelands and has a big passion for Champagne and wine. She joined Saxenburg in December 2023 as our Tasting Room Manager.

 

“I genuinely treasure the moments spent at work, and I find great joy in seeing and sharing moments with my colleagues every day, especially our monthly team lunches are creating beautiful Saxenburg moments.”

Leonie Diedericks

Guesthouse Reception

I was born in Cape Town and at a young age I moved to Wellington in the Boland, where I met my husband in Highschool.

I like working with people and working at the guesthouse, as it gives me the opportunity to meet different people and get to know different cultures. I love spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking and also enjoy spending time in nature, and what better place than the beautiful vineyards of Saxenburg.

“My Saxenburg moment is when I meet our guests at the guesthouse and see how pleased they are to be at Saxenburg. It’s always lovely to welcome back our regular guests and more than that see how excited all of our guests are to go and enjoy our lovely wines at our tasting room.”

Goodson

Head of Gardening

Goodson was born and Malawi and moved to South Africa and grew up admiring horses and loved spending time outside gardening. He joined the Saxenburg team in 2019 to help look after all the gardens and the horses on Estate.  He loves maintaining and growing plants as he is committed to ensuring the gardens are in the best shape possible. Being water-wise is one of the key goals he tries to implement on the farm, and together with the Bührer family, he has sharpened his knowledge of succulent plants. He really likes working together with the gardening team as they all share the same passion.

“I truly find joy in the beauty of the Saxenburg gardens. It is such a pleasure to look after the gardens and see how our hard work pays off”.

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