Kevin Arnold is currently the Cellar Master and managing partner of Waterford Wine Estate. Kevin’s passion for wine began as a student at Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch, where he set out to pursue a qualification in agriculture. While sitting in his agronomy and animal husbandry classes he was exposed to the smell of fermenting wine in the cellar outside the lecture room. Kevin became intrigued by the winemaking process, and thus obtained a Diploma in Cellar Technology. What appealed to Kevin most about the wine industry was the diversity in agriculture, winemaking and marketing and his passion grew with exposure to both local and international vignerons who had made their mark in growing the vine, making the wine and marketing their wines both locally and internationally.
Kevin spent a number of years gaining experience abroad in Germany, Napa Valley, Portugal, Italy France and Chile. His first position as a fully-fledged winemaker was at Delheim, where he spent nine years, during which time the Grand Reserve was successfully made and marketed as one of South Africa’s premium red wines. He went on to spend another ten years at Rust en Vrede Estate, where he managed the vineyards, made the wine and marketed the total production locally and internationally. The first Rust en Vrede Estate bland was released during this time, and became one of South Africa’s top award-winning wines worldwide.
This experience proved the potential of the Stellenbosch region to produce world class wines, and with the investment of Jeremy Ord, the idea of Waterford Estate was born. The winery was established in 1998, receiving the very first grapes in 1999. Kevin’s philosophy in winemaking is based on continuity, longevity, and perpetuation of what has been successful before.