Lelie van Saron is the realization of a dream by one of of South Africa’s brightest winemaking talents, Natasha Williams. Natasha grew up in a small, rural town named Saron nearly two hours north of Cape Town. As a young girl, Natasha loved being outside and had a fascination with science and nature. When meeting with her high school career counselor, the counselor mentioned Natasha would make an excellent winemaker with her love of science, attention to detail, and curiosity. Natasha left the meeting fuming, as wine was never a part of her life and it was forbidden in the house due to a Muslim mother and a father who believed wine was evil.
Natasha enrolled at Stellenbosch University to study molecular biology and during her first year she met a young woman named Charla Haasbroek. Charla was the only woman in the winemaking school, and this really brought back that conversation from high school. Natasha felt that she too could become a winemaker, despite having no idea of what it really entailed, and discussed it with her family. Long story short, Natasha forged ahead on her current path. After completing her studies and working at wineries throughout South Africa and doing a vintage at Merry Edwards in California, Natasha was ready to find that perfect position. One of her internships during university was at Bosman Wines in Wellington and this is where she would start. After being a cellar hand, Natasha very quickly rose the ranks to become the head winemaker for the entire brand. A few years in, Natasha had a conversation with her boss, Corlea, stating that she wanted to make her own wine. The blessing came quickly. Natasha had a real affinity for the cool-climate fruit that Bosman was growing in the Hemel-en-Aarde property and took on a block of Chardonnay, as well as a select number of rows of Syrah, in her inaugural vintage in 2017. In 2023, Natasha left Bosman to become the head winemaker at Hasher Family Estate in the Upper-Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The understanding is that she will continue to source fruit from Bosman.
The name Lelie van Saron translates from Afrikaans to “Lily from the town of Saron.” Growing up, she was referred to as being a lily by her family and this name paid homage back to her non-traditional wine upbringing. The range today includes the two core wines, a Chardonnay and a Syrah, and has grown to include two more experimental wines, a pét-nat and a red blend, under the Jade range. The name is meant as an homage to Natasha’s late cousin of the same name who was taken tragically during the pandemic. Jade differs from the other Lelie van Saron wines in that this range is a little more playful and experimental. In both ranges, the wines are made without any manipulations and with a very gentle hand. Sulfur is the only addition, and the wines are equally reflective of the sea-influenced site as they are of Natasha’s captivating personality.