Melissa Genevieve Nelson had an unconventional landing into the wine industry. Raised as an only-child in the rural landscapes of Elgin, she grew up with a deep sense of wonder and exploration. In adulthood, this evolved into a more daring side, which resulted in Melissa becoming a pilot. A brief spell in this adventure brought Melissa back home to care for her mother and after her passing she put on another cap and entered the wine industry and moved to Bot River with her partner Leon (a viticulturist at Beaumont Wines) .
Starting out in the tasting room at Bot River’s historic Wildekrans Wine Estate. She learned the ropes fast and was fascinated with the industry to the degree and wanting to make her own wine. This led her to sparkling winemaking and a mentorship with Ross Gower of Klein Constantia, arguably South Africa’s most historically important producer. Gower became a majorly important influence on Melissa’s wine journey.
Melissa launched her brand, Genevieve and made her first vintage in 2008, producing only Methode Cap Classique – a sparkling wine method with the 2nd fermentation done in bottle. Fun fact: Only many years later Melissa discovered that her middle name, ‘Genevieve’ also has Welsh roots which translates to ‘White Wave’ or ‘Sea Foam’ in English. I don’t think there could be a more perfect translation for this kind and warm bubbly producer!
Today, Melissa and Leon have created their own space to grow vineyards in Bot River and tend to them with their philosophy of being wardens to the land for following generations. Their property has a renovated barn that serves as the tasting room and renovated 2 cottages on the farm for guests to spend time and take in the way of life they have created. It’s a MUST-visit for those visiting Bot River (hit us up, we’ll introduce you).
They grow Shiraz (used for their rosé) and Chardonnay, and farm everything with regenerative and integrative pest management techniques. They’re not quite ready to produce all their wine from estate fruit or produce and age on site – but it’s in the cards.
Region: Bot River
Grapes Produced: Chardonnay, Shiraz
Farming Method: Practicing Organic, Regenerative, Integrative Pest Management
Yeast Type: Native and Champagne
Wine Style: Minimal Intervention