Ask Cape Flats-born Jamie Williams about her biggest challenge to date and the 28-year-old assistant white-wine maker at Nederburg is unequivocal: “travelling internationally, on my own and having to rely on people I’ve never met!”
This from a young woman raised by a single mum and her late grandmother, who died while Jamie was still in high school.
The overseas trip she refers to, was an opportunity to work in California after her studies. Her journey into wine however, started some time before that.
Born in 1993, Jamie spent her childhood in Retreat and matriculated at Norman Henshilwood High School in Constantia. “I always had a passion for science,” she says.
In her second year of a BSc with specialisation in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch, she undertook a module on wine biotechnology. “I was captured!” she declares.
Her BSc graduation was followed by appointment in 2015 as a laboratory analyst intern at Distell’s Die Bergkelder. A year later, she became harvest cellar intern before taking on her current position at Nederburg in May 2018.
Jamie names her career highlight to date without hesitation; it’s that very same August 2016 trip to the US she regards as the biggest challenge she has faced. She was invited to participate by the Communicating for Agriculture Education Programme (CAEP).
She spent three months in Napa, California as a harvest enologist at Hunnicutt Wines.
Today, much of Jamie’s outlook comes from the influence of both her gran and mum. “It's important to love who you are and be yourself. Work hard and don’t let the past get in the way of realising your potential,” she says.
When she’s not working, Jamie enjoys exploring the Western Cape; and, pastimes like swimming, wine with friends and walking her dog. She’s married and lives in Paarl.